"You want me to what? No Thank You!" Yesterday's post introduced a change scenario, where a change was suggested by one person that would affect the entire family.
In this scenario, Jai, the person who introduced the change, was clearly onboard, and thought others would be too. He was surprised to find that this wasn't the case. Let's take a look at the perspective of one of the people who resist the idea; Jai's son Ian: "But I love meat!" Did you ever think about that? How can you just come along and impose something like this?"
Ian is clearly unhappy with with his father's suggestion. Even when Jai tries to offer insights as to why he thinks this would be a good change for the whole family, Ian is too upset to hear them. And this is a big thing to know about people in resistance to change; it's a highly emotional place.
People tend to resist change for the same general reasons; fear (of the unknown, or of personal failure), lack of confidence (that the change is a good idea or in the person/people introducing the change), naturally resistant and/or slower adaptation styles.
Interestingly, even though there are many different reasons for resistance to change, they can all be mitigated by the same thing: trust.
People who are fearful of the change need to trust that everything will be alright, that there is a chance for success, that their voice will be heard and respected, and that they will be supported throughout the change process. Those who lack confidence in the change or the person suggesting it need trust that the idea has been well thought out, from different angles and perspectives, and that the person suggesting it is willing to put forth the effort required to ensure its success.
Not all people adapt to change at the same pace. This is evidenced by the terms early and late adopters. While those terms tend to be specific to technology, the same idea holds true for any change. Some people are naturally more welcoming of change than others, and context plays a large part in determining who will embrace, and who will resist a given change.
For Ian, who is active in sports, his first thought was how he would ever keep up his calorie count when he's already eating practically constantly without any dietary restrictions? In addition, he felt his father's idea was being imposed, and that created an automatic sense of resistance in him. Even if it was an idea that Ian otherwise would have liked, because he dislikes being told what to do, and Jai's suggestion was perceived as a directive, Ian immediately disliked it.
For people who naturally resist new ideas for change, as well as for those with a slower pace of adaptation, the way to develop trust is to allow them time to come to terms with the change. One way to do this is to avoid edicts, or abrupt decisions surrounding a change, and, instead engage those who will be impacted in conversation well ahead of making any decisions. The more involved others are in their future, the more likely concerns will be heard and worked out before the change takes place, paving the way for a smoother transition and a more successful change.
Next we'll take a look at this same scenario from the perspective of someone upset, not so much because of the change itself, but because of the perceived disruptions the change could create.
*note: the proposed dietary change in this scenario is intended as an example only, and is does not represent any views, for or against, a vegetarian or any other diet.
About the Author
Megan Rounds, Ed.D. is owner and principle perculator of perculcha, llc.
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