What I learnt about the resistor who failed to change

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IMG-20150502-00455Several years ago I had a small design studio under my wing as part of a larger management role. The person who was running the studio had been in the same job for many years. The company’s internal customers had changed and had new requirements. The person in charge needed to change and adapt to new methods and demands. But he wouldn’t change. I had to give up in frustration. He eventually left the company. Not because of me but because the demand for his services declined to such an extent that it left him demoralised.

What I learned was that change requires making choices.

People become stuck in the status quo. They’ve done the same old thing for so many years, believe in what they do and can’t open their minds and hearts to fresh thinking, new approaches and innovation. If you apply any sort of “pressure” they resist change. Most people will eventually learn that they need to change whether the case for change is portrayed as negative or positive. But you get the hard “nuts” who you can’t crack, which would be foolish anyway, and who can’t crack open themselves.

These hardened resistors have blocked their energy flow. It’s easy for others to see how blocked their energy is because they do their work almost like zombies. Yet the resistors can be cunning and devious. One of their main tactics is to blame the change agent whether that be a consultant or their manager. They will carefully and in detail build a case against the change agent claiming that they are being treated unfavourably. But their ruse is easy to spot – basically they are denialists.

When energy is blocked how do you get it to flow? The simple answer is to step back. The change agent with a consultant or manager needs to step back and let go. It sounds easy but it is hard. But the centred change agent, consultant or manager does so out of habit. If the person is not ready no amount of persuasion, manipulation or even education will help.

The person not wanting to change, the hardened resistor, ultimately let themselves down by not changing, not the person who is trying to help the person change. By not changing, the resistor stays stuck in the status quo and says no to growth. Whether you like it or not, change is necessary for growth. It requires breaking old patterns and finding new paths.

The wise consultant, the wise change agent, the wise leader knows that in times of change their own centredness is central to the well-being. You become centred and grounded by ensuring that the energy flows through you and that you don’t waste your precious energy fighting a losing battle but rather use it as a positive force to help those who understand why change is necessary and long for growth.

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