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Resistance

Resistance to change is one of the most significant but least understood issues. This is because many people view opposition as a negative issue, something to go into battle with and defeat. However, unless people are already moving in the direction of a proposed transformation then it is natural to expect some form of resistance. This might be minimal, such as the odd joke or sarcastic comment about the new corporate uniform; or major, such as company-wide industrial action triggered by proposed downsizing. Although these two examples are different in scale, they follow the same underlying process that is a natural response in reaction to something people regard as unfair or inappropriate.

The first reaction to such resistance is to question 'how do we minimize any response to the proposed change?' But all this means is that valuable time is spent on avoidance routines, trying to work out ways to hide the elements that people might not like. For example, think about the hours people spend trying to find a politically correct way to present an idea that is obviously not politically correct. Hence the rebadging of 'downsizing' to 'rightsizing' or 'decruit' as a way to manage people out of a business in a controlled way. All of these actions indicate a change process that is being squeezed through the back door rather than being presented honestly.


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