Rolling with Resistance

I’m participating in the School for Health & Care Radicals and in the interest of working and learning out loud, I am using my blog to share my journey during the program. My Week 3 reflections are below.  You can find my reflections from Week 1 and Week 2 here.

What have you learned?

Resistance to change is not a bad thing, in fact it’s needed.

One of the things that I found really interesting was looking at resistance from the standpoint of new power vs old power (slide 19).  In an old power view, resistance is a force to overcome which can be planned and managed through process.  It prevents change.  In a new power view, resistance is inevitable and change results from stimulating these different view points. Resistance isn’t something to overcome.  It’s something to embrace.

I think I’ve been treating resistance as something to overcome, not embrace and – like normal my type A always wants – as something to manage through a nice neat process with a meticulous project plan.

This got me thinking my relationship with change and what’s been holding me back. This lead to my second major lesson from this session.

Being on the edge is great, as long as your bridging gaps.

The Change Curve
The Change Curve from Julian Stodd’s Laying the Foundations for Change

In Week 2,  I reflected on getting better at bring what I am learning  back into the organization by not only learning how to articulate my story but by also helping people share there’s.

When we discussed Julian’s Change Curve,  it gave me a way to visualize this.  I can see where I am currently sitting – change space and where a lot of others in in my organization are – controlled space.  I can also now visualize clearly what I am missing – those bridging conversations.

So what’s got me stuck? My fear of resistance, well that and failure but that’s a whole other story.  When I realized this, I also discovered my next lesson.

No does not me never.

In fact if you don’t ask you are essentially just telling yourself no.  Either way it’s a no, so you might as well Go for No!

In fact our discussion on “going for no” reminded me most things worth doing, the things that really have impact aren’t easy.  It also reminded me that no does not necessarily mean never.  Which basically means you need to keep trying.  But how?

This lead me to another lesson for the week.

Meet people where they are.

Image Source: SCHR. Concept Source: Week 3 Slides

Being relatively new to the “theory” behind change, I enjoyed our discussion on the Transtheoretical Change model.  It helped me to see that most people are at stages 1 or 2 when you approach them about change, yet I often interact with people like they are at stage 4.

This model gave me a frame of reference to think about how I approach people about change and the methods I use to help them see why change is needed.  I know now I can’t expect people to move from not recognizing the need for change to immediate action.  They need the space and time to contemplate.  This is also the space that I believe we can help move people to action by listening to their stories and co-creating solutions.  When we do this hopefully people are more invested & move towards action – though in reality people they don’t always move. This though led me to lead me to my last major takeaway.

If your horse dies, get off it.

I loved this metaphor that was part of the information we were given this week.  I loved it because it’s a great reminder that sometimes it’s just not worth your effort – some people will never change.  You have to know when to call it. It doesn’t mean you have to give up,  you just need to find a new horse.


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