Identifying Change Resistance

posted by WMC

Can you see Change Resistance?  Before it occurs?  Wouldn’t that be useful?  Imagine the time, energy and cost you could save if you could just identify those resistors, before they resist?  Well, if you are a Project Sponsor or a Program or Project Manager you will probably be familiar with a diagram like the one below – a change impact assessment of your key stakeholders.  (To be honest, if you don’t see a diagram like this from your Change Lead – you might want to change them, as they are not doing Change Management).

In this approach your Change Lead will try to assess Change Resistance by a qualitative approach – something that is very heavily dependent upon experience and intuition.  But there is a much more scientific way of approaching the same problem.

Here are the stakeholders in a network visualization.  Now can you see the Change Resistors?

No?  Well here they are…. six highly likely suspects clearly identified and now we know exactly who we have to go and talk to and who we are potentially building a resistance plan around.

If you watched my video on the science and math behind this, then you’ll know this is not guesswork.  What we are looking for here are certain structures which will naturally represent pockets of  strong support or strong resistance.  You can’t get this insight from the first diagram that Change Leads traditionally use, but you can if you use network analysis techniques within your approach to change.  And yes, you can see Change Resistance.

Thanks for reading.

Mike Hughes

The opinions represented here do not necessarily represent WMC’s views as a whole.