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stakeholder resistance Archives - Garrett's Change Management Blog

Tensegrity

tensegrity

Is an architectural concept where structural stability comes from the tension among parts.

It results in beautiful designs that barely look able to hold their own weight (and can carry many times more).

Make your own with straws here.

Things that are.. tensigrous (?)…hold energy inside that tension. So a toy designed with tensegrity will rebound after you squish it. Push in the right place and you can re-squish it.

A beautiful, cool and fun concept.

Unless, of course, the object full of tensegrity (if there are levels of tensigrousness) happens to be a STAKEHOLDER.

Stakeholder Tensegrity

This is the change concept that illustrates people who can go merrily along with change, apparently un-phased by fear or hesitation or pattern disruption and then revert right back to where they were when the tension is released. They play the game and when you turn your back (or leave in the case of externals- they know you will leave and they are patient) they skip right back to where they were.

It is stakeholder tensegrity that is partially responsible for the new trend toward change management AFTER the change and into the end state. They are patient, but usually can’t survive extended “pressure”. Change sustainability is often about outlasting the tensegrous ones.

Can you get ahead of this?

You can if it is possible to create a point of no return.

Is your change an IT initiative? That’s an easy one. At the crossover from one system or software to the next there is a point of no return. It is impossible for anyone to bounce back to where they were.

I am not one to advocate too much talk of transition, but this is a time when it might make sense. If you think your stakeholders would bounce back if they could, then create a point in the change process where that will be obviously impossible. Then be nice and communicate, hand hold and guide them past that spot.

Tensegrity is a beautiful concept, simple and complex at the same time- just like the stakeholders who want to go back to where they were. :-)

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Wonderfully Disillusioned- The Resistors

Do you have a few people, or maybe just one, in your organization that cause(s) people to warn others of their presence?

“Watch out for ___ (s)he always does ___”

Every single initiative I have been on has one of those people. It is fun to count the number of stakeholders that come to warn me about certain individuals (the record so far is 6 people quietly warning me about the same person). Can you imagine being that person who has a forewarning wave that precedes their arrival to everything? If you ARE that person of course you can’t imagine (if you could you would not be that way).

Can you imagine going through life being the difficult one?

Again, I know, I am preaching to the choir. And you “resistors” are just saying, “la, la, la, la, la… I can’t hear you…..”. There are people in this world that are VERY difficult. There are people who carry expectations that no one can figure out (that is usually part of the forewarn warning). There are people who insist on making the world their way. And THAT makes me very disillusioned.

But just for a second, take a breath and think to yourself… “maybe Joe or Josephine resistor is onto something”. Maybe, just maybe, they have some valid points. Maybe the reason they are so obnoxious is because no one listens to them. Maybe they yell and scream because they do not take the time to articulate their points (raising your voice to someone who speaks a different language never works for understanding). Maybe we should cut them a little slack?

Enter the (effective) Change Management Practitioner

These people are the stakeholders you need to start talking to- rather than running away from.

Those people who warn you? What are the odds that they are also resisting in some way?

One of the strong points of good leaders/guiders of change is their ability to ask questions. Expertise in that area is the ability to re-ask in a different way to gain understanding. Yes, you may go through many rounds with these types of stakeholders. Yes, you may have to spend more time than you would like building a little trust. And yes, you may have to be very careful- there are a few resistors out there that are exactly that, saboteurs.

Take that time though. Ask the right questions. Find out why they are so passionate about the negative. Get to the root of their emotion. You will find a wealth of background information for this particular change (and for the politics of the organization). The results are, frankly, WONDERFUL. Do this and you may just be WONDERFULLY DISILLUSIONED.

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