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The need to use resistance to change, not ignore it or use it to blame


Business Psychologist
I was delighted to find an article on the positive aspects of resistance to change whilst doing one of my general searches today.

The article:

Stop Blaming Resistance to Change and Start Using It by JEFFREY D. FORD and LAURIE W. FORD has recently been published in the journal Organizational Dynamics.

They highlight how resistance can help to 'complete' the past and clarify goals and objectives, enabling the change rather than stopping it.

They give some tips about how to use resistance and also give some good clues about how change initiatives go wrong, including over-selling the benefits of the change and under-selling the downside. However, a lot of change management literature tells us this 'over-selling' is potentially a good thing - that we must 'over communicate' and ensure people understand the benefits of the new approach.

Their top tip is to use the apparent resistance to keep the change moving, listen to it, debate the ideas and let people see you are engaging with it and using the feedback.

But I have been saying this for a long time and although people often nod wisely when I say it they still find it hard to let go of their initial reaction to people questioning change - which is to view it as negative and try to stop the discussion.

How about trying to really listen and improve the change processes in 2010?