Change Leadership Secret – 58 – Estimate The Resistance Power

Change Leadership — Secret # 58
Estimate The Resistance Power

The man who is swimming against
the stream knows the strength of it. —Woodrow Wilson

What I Need to Know

An important factor that influences the power required to make a change is the power required to overcome the resisting forces.

Here is a process for estimating the power of the resisting forces:
1. Identify resisting forces
2. Qualitatively assess the resisting forces (who, what, why, where, when, how)
3. Define scenarios for how the resistors might respond
4. Estimate the effort the resisting forces are willing and able to expend in each scenario
5. Determine the duration of the resistance

Calculate the resistance power in each scenario by multiplying the effort times the duration.

Once you have an assessment of the resistance power, you must decide how to handle the resistance. Three generic approaches are:
1. Through. Work through/within the constraints defined by the resisting forces.
2. Around. Work outside and around the boundaries the resistance cares about.
3. Over. Take the resistance front-on and go right over it.

What I Need to Do

Estimate the power of resistance keeping in mind that power can be thought of as:

    • Work over time—How much work will the resistance expend? For how long?
    • Force times distance over time—How far will the resistance be willing to go? For how long?
    • Force times velocity—With what force will the resistance act? How fast?

Determine the best approach for handling the resistance: through, around, or over.
Remember the customer herself may have conflicting thoughts, such as anxieties or lack of familiarity, that provide resistance. You will need to deal systematically with each source of resistance.
Remain detached and stay off the playing field/battlefield in the organization. You may want the order, and you are the customer’s agent, but the change is not your war. It is the customer’s.

Action Summary

  • Identify all sources of resistance.
  • Estimate the effort the resistance will expend.
  • Do not become “involved” in the change.
Change Leadership Secret - 58  Estimate The Resistance Power

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