Harness Resistance to Change as Positive EnergyA past Client and long time subscriber sent me an e-mail recalling the successful work we’d done together years ago. He was at the centre of the work we and the CEO were doing on culture and leadership development. They went on to become named as a Top 100 Employer.

Part of his e-mail focused on a vital culture change issue:

“As I recall, at the time you had a section on incorporating divergent thinkers into the change process and especially on differentiating between divergent thinkers and negative people who just want to derail change. I believe those employees who are resistant to change because they are negatively orientated in their personalities or wish to harm the organization need to be differentiated from those employees who are offering valid critique.

It seems to me that the latter are often divergent thinkers who are among the most innovative and morally courageous people we have. I also think that organizations need to get such divergent thinkers on board in order to benefit from their critique as well as to ward off any overt or covert resistance. We waste a lot of talent if we label all resistors as negative.

Would you be so kind as to direct me to any literature that you have on this subject matter?”

These are discussions I tend to have during many workshops and executive team retreats. We have a selection of Change Management blog posts and articles. The article, Harnessing the Energy of Change Champions gets into another critical aspect of this discussion and provides a list of how-to implementation ideas.

Resistance is energy. Apathy is the real problem. If resistors can be redirected, their energy can often be turned into a very positive force for change.