Archive for September, 2011
Posted on September 15th, 2011 by admin Comments Off
(Adapted from “Resistance to Change:Â Friend or Foe?,” by Maureen Gallagher and John Reid, Health Progress, July-August 2011)
Leaders in values-based organizations are commonly called to a transformational form of leadership that seeks to change the status quo for the common good. Transformational leadership focuses on the mission, and it makes decisions based on furthering the viability of the mission. Inevitably, these decisions regarding changes will bring with them various forms of resistance.
Change is never easy, even when we seek it, because it always involves some loss or letting go of what has been. Resistance almost always accompanies change. Active resistance takes many forms, from raised voices in conflict to clinging to “the way we haveÂ always done things around here” to gossiping, complaining, lowered morale and more.Â Passive resistance often is reflected in negative non-verbal actions by staff when asked to implement a specific change or by outright refusal to cooperate with a proposed new course of action.
In our experience, resistance is too often perceived by leaders as a negative factor in organizational life. They believe it is something that must be stamped out for positive change and growth to occur. Those who resist are sometimes perceived to be the “foe” or “enemies.”
We respectfully disagree that resistance to change is always a negative factor, even though it is often challenging. We believe resistance to change can most definitely be our friend. Anticipating resistance to change and appreciating various forms of resistance is an important element helping organizations, departments and in individuals grow stronger in times of change.
As change consultants, we have had the opportunity to work with many leaders and organizations around change and transition processes. Some of these processes have involved the merger of departments or even entire institutions, while others have focused on the transition of key leaders or the changing of organizational cultures. Through this work, we have identified reasons why these important change processes fail to achieve the desired results. These include:
High levels of resistance
Commitment to and resistance to change come in many levels, from enthusiasm from those who are willing to help it work, to those who are hesitant, indifferent, uncooperative, opposed and downright hostile. The latter will often do everything in their power to block the change. With good communication, participation and education, those who are hesitant, indifferent and uncooperative usually can be led to accept the change and work with it, sometimes even improving on the planned change. Those who are openly opposed or hostile may, after the organization has exhausted all its approaches to get buy-in for the change, need to be given options, including leaving the organization.
Lack of effective planning
Anticipated change that is not well planned invites resistance. Planned change which involves participation of those affected by the change is a sure way to lessen resistance.
Inconsistent or poor leadership
Constantly changing leadership or leadership that is too laissez-faire does not bode well for leading change. Trust and confidence are often lacking in such situations.
A struggle to turn a new vision into a preferred future with consistent actions
Being able to articulate a compelling vision for change with some action steps lessens resistance.
Leaders likely can add to the list of reasons why previous change efforts did not succeed to the hoped-for degree. However, turning these barriers into bridges will take communication, participation and education.
Coming up next:Â Keys to Overcoming Resistance to Change
Posted on September 7th, 2011 by admin Comments Off
In more than thirty years of working with people in the helping profession, I continue to observe that many “helpers” are better at taking care of other people’s needs, rather than taking care of their own.
Working with difficult conversations, stressful situations, challenging personalities and strong emotions is not easy and can take a lot of energy. Whether as a counselor, a leader, a facilitator or a parent, a person is subjected to repeated demands that make claims on one’s resources of time, attention and ability to repeatedly respond to changing circumstances.
Where do you get your energy?Â Â Â How do you renew your energy?Â Â Â Practices of self-care and renewal are not selfish. Instead, they are necessary to replenish one’s energy for the work of bridging divides and working toward mutual agreement.
So where to begin?
- Proper Rest
It only stands to reason that when one of these is out of balance it takes more energy to simply to get through the day. When these are in balance a person has more energy to bring to life.
Are you getting proper rest? Are you maintaining a healthy and nutritious diet? Are you getting regular exercise? What is one action commitment you need or are willing to make?
Practices of Renewal
- Reading–making time to read that supports your learning and growth as a human being
- Reflection–do you take time to reflect on the events of the day? When was the last time you stopped to take in a sunrise or moonrise? How regularly do you make time for silence?
- Writing/journaling–do you have a book or notebook that you can jot down your thoughts, feelings, hopes and dreams as you notice them from day to day?
- Music–what kind of music do you like? How consistently do you make time to be still and let the music speak to your spirit?
- Meditation/mindfulness practice–have you befriended your breath? Practices of attention can be relaxing and refreshing. Following the rhythm of your breathing in quiet or in activity can be very rejuvenating.
- Time spent in nature–whether it be going for a walk, sitting by a body of water or pulling off the road to catch a viewpoint–any of these can be restful and restorative times.
- What’s missing? What other ways might you renew your energy?
So what does your menu of renewal practices look like? When was the last time you did them? What would help you be more consistent and frequent in practicing them?
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