Change Perspectives & Dissolve Resistance

In my Change Agent Essentials classes I’m often asked how to quickly eliminate people’s resistance to change.  Here’s the simple method I offer, after making sure the person asking first clearly understands the importance of driving change not driving people.

I call this method 5 Steps to Change Perspectives & Dissolve Resistance.

Step 1: Invite all the people affected by the change, or representatives of all the people, to a meeting place (virtual or physical).

Step 2: Create four categories of input, typically represented as a 2×2 matrix.  The categories are Positive Effects of the Change, Negative Effects of the Change, Positive Effects of Not Changing, Negative Effects of Not Changing.

Step 3: Give everyone sticky notes or their own separate electronic space to write their thoughts.  Then ask everyone to silently and independently write the affects from their perspective for each of the categories.  They can have many affects associated with each or none for some of the categories.

Step 4: Have everyone post their affects onto a common board.

Step 5: Those who want to remain and work towards a win-win solution for all are asked to stay, review the shared information, and suggest improvements to the change that would result in win-win.

This 5 step process can take as little as 20 minutes or as long as a day.  It depends on how many people involved, how challenging the change, and how creative the win-win solution designers are willing to be.  The only pre-work is deciding whom to give a voice through inviting them to the exercise.

I took my inspiration for this quick method from the video “Overcoming Resistance to Change – Isn’t it Obvious?”.

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