Resistance is Fertile! (But, a Hassle)

In the famous television series, Star Trek, an arch nemesis was The Borg – a powerful race of individuals completely controlled by “The Collective”.  When The Borg would arrive at a new planet they would offer an ultimatum – be absorbed by The Collective or be destroyed.  The message was accompanied by the ominous prediction: Resistance is Futile!

Well, there is another way of looking at resistance – that it reveals important information and perspective.  In organizational change management the dictum which may be most helpful is “Resistance is Fertile!”

As leaders, when we plan for change we like to think we are moving toward benefit.  We like to think we’ve worked out the details, the plan is good, and everyone should see that getting on board is the right thing to do.  But, we quickly learn it isn’t that simple.

For many reasons people will often resist change.  Some reasons are very simple.  Some are complex.  But when we are the authors of change we learn that resistance is also common.  So, here we’ll take a combined systems, physiologic, and behavioral look at mechanisms behind resistance and solutions for it.  If we do this with an open mind we will indeed discover that resistance is often fertile – it reveals problems, potential pitfalls, and hidden information which may ultimately determine whether our good ideas are really all that good.

Topics List (under development)

  • Resistance driven by old habits
  • Resistance driven by fear of the unknown
  • Resistance driven by loss of relationship
  • Resistance driven by fear of incompetence
  • Resistance driven by economic or career threat
  • Resistance driven by personality style
  • Resistance driven by practical inability to change
  • Resistance driven by social pressure
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