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Nov 23, 2020

How to Approach Resistance in Teams in Three Steps

"How do you deal with resistance to change? While it's a question I often get, in my experience resistance is usually a symptom of something else. To find out what lies at its root, we need to ask different questions. I like to start by going through these three steps." - Renate Cremer, trainer at Gladwell Academy.

Safety First

Your first step in coaching toward change and easing resistance is creating psychological safety. Share who you are and what it is you're bringing to the table as a coach. When people understand what's happening, they're more likely to feel at ease and are more open to change. And for the coach, it's invaluable to get an understanding of the team members and the team dynamics. For me, the best way to achieve this is to have individual conversations with everyone involved right at the start.

Essential Ingredients

Knoster's Managing Complex Change model identifies six key components to successfully implement change: vision, consensus, skills, incentives, resources, and an action plan. If one or more of these essential ingredients are missing, you're likely to encounter resistance. That's why step two is figuring out what's missing. In order to do that, it's important to get the group together. Does everyone understand what's changing and why? Are they fully equipped to make the changes, in both resources and skills? And, last but not least, is there a clear action plan in place? Because without it, people can feel like they're running around in a hamster wheel.

Finding Solutions

Getting everything out into the open allows you to pinpoint the root of resistance. Once you've mapped out how the team works and what they need, you're ready for the third step. Together, the team needs to work out how they'll deal with these missing elements. By setting out a developmental roadmap and taking a step-by-step iterative approach, you ensure a steady route to change. And the most important ingredient throughout the process? Encouraging an open discussion.

Written by Gladwell Academy, but most of our content is created by trainers and partnering experts!