Resist Change? Or Resist the Changers?

A recent conversation with a senior vice president of a company prompted these thoughts.

Note to consultants and folks in organizations who fancy themselves change agents:

People resist change for all kinds of reasons. But did you ever think it was you employees were resisting?

When you denigrate everything people did before you arrived, you demean them.

When you brag and try to impress people with all your past successes, people smell b.s.

When you manipulate people’s emotions to get them to buy into what you are selling, people resent you.

When you criticize other consultants and vendors the employees use, they want to defend them and resist you.

When you try to bully people  to get them to do your bidding, people will sabotage you.

When you “Monday Morning quarterback” everything that goes wrong instead of asking, “What happened and what can we learn from it,” people will quit telling you about problems.

When you then blame the employees for resisting change, you are mindless of your impact on others.

I’m not innocent. I did most of  those things at one time or another as a leader and as a consultant.

How about some simple rules for consultants and change agents:

  • Treat people like adults,
  • Tell the truth,
  • Be honest about your agenda,
  • Share information openly and widely,
  • Listen to employees; they know what is wrong and how to fix it,
  • Lead with your values, not from your need to collect a fee or desire for a promotion,
  • Insure that people feel valued, involved, and informed, and
  • Involve people because they will support what they help create.

If you do these things, you won’t have to motivate people to change, they will motivate themselves and you will be a good leader of change.

4 thoughts on “Resist Change? Or Resist the Changers?

  1. Great observations — and great advice! I especially like, “When you brag and try to impress people with all your past successes, people smell b.s.” I’d much rather SEE just how good a consultant is than hear all about it.


  2. I really appreciate the timeliness of these thoughts, Tom. While your examples are with corporate leadership, these observations have application in many facets of life (as your thoughts usually do!): I’m needing to deal with someone in the health care field about these very matters… and sometimes the message can be appropriate but the delivery/tone carries a different (not so positive) vibe.


  3. Thanks Eleanor. I agree the descriptions fits many people and situations. The senior vice president whose story prompted this post got thrown off track by the behavior of the consultant. She found herself and will empower herself again and deal with it.


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