This website covers knowledge management, personal effectiveness, theory of constraints, amongst other topics. Opinions expressed here are strictly those of the owner, Jack Vinson, and those of the commenters.

Two (or more) perspectives of change

Change management is always an entertaining topic. It usually starts with some version of "they don't want to change" and then variations on how to make it work. Thinking about it a little more, it's not that people always resist, but there is something about the change that doesn't work for them or maybe they don't understand. Maybe it's time to step back and take a look at their perspective.

Nancy Dixon had a recent blog post, Resistant to Change, that follows pretty closely how I like to think about this too.  When people say that someone else is resistant to change, they are looking at it only from their own perspective. The change is obviously great, people just don't want to follow the great ideas that I/we have created. I like how Nancy talks about this - it isn't that they are always resistant, they happen to be "resisting" a change and this is creating friction.  But why? What is it about their situation that makes them less inclined to embrace your great idea?  Maybe your idea actually creates more problems for them - it runs counter to the way they have been asked to operate, it will require a learning period and they don't have time, or they simply don't think it will do what you believe it will do. (Do they know what you are trying to do?) 

Nancy's discussion suggests shifting from telling to inquiring.  Instead just assuming they are resistant and forcing the change, switch to a mode of inquiry that engages the thinking of others. Maybe they can help make the change even better. But I'm only going to be thinking that if I am open to learning and seeing things from different perspectives. 

And of course it isn't just us and them in those perspectives. How does the change impact the business, our customers, the parts of the organization that are upstream and downstream from us, etc. If I'm convinced it's already great, I'm not inclined to look for these. 

For some fun, go take a  look at this topic on Youtube. One of my favorites (from a TOC perspective) is Overcoming Resistance to Change - Isn't it Obvious? that comes from Eli Goldratt and has developed into the "change matrix". Most people only look at the damage of the current situation and the brilliance of the changed situation. But what about the good things in the current situation and the potential danger in the new scenario?  

There are disruptions and then there are disruptions

TOC in software