Jul 10, 2013

5 Steps to Overcoming Resistance to Change

People don't like change.  If you haven't discovered that, you haven't tried to change anything yet.  Your turn is coming.  Actually, "your turn" sounds negative.  If you know how to navigate it, the resistance that comes with change doesn't have to be a negative experience.

Here's five steps to help overcome resistance to change.  Hopefully these will help you avoid many of the mistakes I've made over the years while trying to make changes.   

1. Show people you're trying to take them to a better place.  People resist being pushed into something or being made to comply. 

Instead of telling them how "your way" is better, paint a picture of how much better things could be for the ministry and for them personally.  When people catch a vision of how the change can improve things, they will be more likely to jump on board.  Influence instead of pushing.

Show them the change is not about you, but about taking them and the ministry to a better place.

2. Ask the right questions.  A big part of influencing change is asking the right questions.  Questions like...
  • How do you feel about the change?
  • What do you think about the change?  What's your take on it?  
  • What does the change mean for you personally? 
  • What was your first reaction when you heard about the change?
3. Listen to their concerns.  A big part of resistance to change is fear.  People don't like to be moved out of their comfort zone.  They like the familiar...the routine.

Give them opportunity to express their fears and concerns.  Genuinely listen.  BTW...if you are not really listening, they will pick up on it.

Also don't listen defensively, planning your rebuttals while they are talking.

People don't have to always have their way.  But they do want to be heard.  Once they know you are genuinely listening to their concerns, their hearts will be more receptive to the change you are presenting.

4. See things from their point of view. Instead of trying to pull them into your shoes, step into theirs.  See where they are coming from.  Show that you understand their personal feelings about the change.  Ask yourself...
  • Do I understand who the people are that are resisting the change?
  • Do I understand why they are resisting the change?  (ties to the church's history, special memories, past changes that failed, etc.)
  • Am I offering options and alternatives that will help them move forward?
5. Over communicate.  People don't like to be caught by surprise when it comes to change.  Go the second mile to over communicate.  When it comes to change...be an open book...not a secret diary.

Your turn.  What are some steps you have used to overcome resistance to change?  We'd like to hear from  you.  Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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