The Problem With Leading Change Initiatives in Large & Small Business

“Just so you know, Skip, my people don’t like change.”

I frequently hear that from small business owners.

I try to act like it’s the first time I’ve heard it.

A few weeks from now I’ll be delivering my first ever keynote address to about 200 business leaders on the topic of “change.”

While creating the keynote I realized a couple of things that can help you lead your next change initiative.

First, why we human beings resist the only thing in life that we can truly count on, change. Change is constant and yet we still resist it.

I realized the reason is that most change is not on our own initiative, it is either imposed on us by someone else, or imposed by natural causes.

For those two types of change, we have no control over the change so it is typically,

  • Unexpected,
  • Unwanted, and
  • Uncertain

That’s a recipe for resistance.

And, second, I realized the #1 problem with leaders trying to implement change in their organizations is that they resist the resistance.

How crazy is that?

If we know there is going to be resistance, resisting the resistance is not a healthy way to address it. As a matter of fact, resisting the resistance embeds the resistance and builds resentment.

Here’s my thought process:

  • Most people don’t like change, so
  • There is going to be resistance, but
  • Despite that leaders resist the resistance (and ignore the fact they will be faced with it), so
  • They try to force it through, and
  • Face more resistance that builds resentments, so
  • The only sane way to implement change is to…

Embrace the resistance!

Embracing the resistance that the change initiative is sure to be met with allows the leader to expect the resistance and accept the resistance.

And expecting, accepting, and embracing the resistance allows the leader to speak from the perspective of those charged with buying into, committing to, and contributing to the change.

It just seems to make sense and fits with Stephen Covey’s 5th Habit of Highly Effective People, “seeking first to understand, then to be understood.”

What do you think?

Leave a comment below and let’s explore this together.

‘til next time, remember, Communicate With Power!

skip-weisman-professional speaker-small business championship coach








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