Understanding and working with resistance to change
As human beings we tend to show a resistance to change. Not all change is the same of course, or perhaps I should more correctly say our perceptions of change vary according to how we see the world. A key aspect of that is how engaged and part of the change process we feel. The transitions change management model (Kurt Lewins) is a useful way of gaining understanding on your own reactions and resistance to change.
Did we choose it or was it forced upon us?
those who make decisions Intentional
those required to implement the decisions Imposed
change Is a conscious
decision Is a decision without
problems Provides new
For those who make decisions
For those required to implement the decisions
Is a conscious decision
Is a decision without choice
Provides new opportunities
Taken from “The Challenge of Change in Organisations” by Barger & Kirby
So our resistance to change is affected greatly by how much choice we feel we have had.
The Process of Change - Personal
When people are coming to grips with change they find there are three main stages to deal with.
People frequently feel they are leaving things behind and stepping into uncharted waters. A bit like climbing into a boat when you have one foot on land and one in the rocking boat. There is a fear of falling, slipping into the water, and grief on the voyage from leaving behind your supports and all that is familiar. Not surprisingly often people show a resistance to change, well wouldn't you?
Often people feel they are being pushed into the boat and have no control over events. Then you feel victimised, betrayed, and angry. All these resistance to change emotions use up energy and you feel very tired.
At this stage it is common to feel that although you are on the Journey, and trying to deal with the situation, you are worried about the future, feel unsure, and want lots of answers to the many questions you have. Rather like being on the boat in mid-stream. You may be carried along at a rate faster than you feel comfortable with, and may not really understand where you are going. There will be lots of rocks in your path to manoeuvre around. Lots of big waves to deal with. It is a stage most people go through before they feel confident about handling their new organisational culture and their new role. A stage where you often feel that you are only just surviving.
When working through this stage, you can feel more confident, and try to manage the situation positively. You become accepting of the change and enthusiastic, look forward, and feel that they are in charge. You take control, set goals for yourself, take on board the organisation’s new goals, and chart a course for yourself. You navigate your way through change in a positive manner, and feel able to try out new things. This stage can be like having reached the shore at long last, and feeling really positive and excited. However it frequently means climbing up hill, and finding it hard to see the wood for the trees. There will be some existing paths for you to follow, but sometimes you will need to forge your own. But at least you know you have been navigating on course.At this stage you have left resistance to the change ehind you and are getting on with trying to make sense of it all.
Once you decide to change your thoughts, in order to change your life, you have triggered an automatic brain response that will change the way you now perceive certain things. Whatever change you decide you're going to make, if you focus on just one of your dreams, your brain will now begin making new connections, and you'll begin seeing things that are related to your dream that you never saw before. Now you need to begin changing that dream into a personal goal, as well as a detailed plan that will achieve your goal.
Where do you think you are at the moment in this process of change? Dealing with the change, hoping it will go away or showing some resistance to the change?: