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Meeting Resistance – Rich’s Rules for Influence # 7

July 20, 2016

Rich's Rules TitlecardWhile leading others through change you’re likely to run into some push back. Resistance can come in many forms, including those that are obvious and those less visible. My approach to meeting this resistance has been influenced by change management expert Rick Maurer. A few years ago I read an article in which Rick discussed forms of resistance that come into play when people don’t “get” or “like” what you’re proposing – or don’t like you! You can find out more about Rick and his training at Here are a few thoughts related to these keys areas of resistance and reflecting my experience as a leadership communication coach:

Understanding & Making A Logical Case

There will be followers or other constituents who literally don’t understand what you’re proposing. Logical types have a hard time taking action if something doesn’t add up or make sense to them. Your plan might make sense to you, but something gets lost in translation making listeners uncomfortable. You may find their insistence on more and better information to be tedious, annoying or slowing to the plan, but if you can’t answer their questions you will be less likely to get them on board with any new direction or objective you’re proposing. This is WHY making a logical case is a key ingredient of persuasion.  And, this is why you need to have your facts, figures, statistics, charts, graphs and answers to specific questions about WHY your proposal makes sense.

Feelings & Emotional Appeal

There will also be those who resist what you’re proposing out of fear or concern. Some types have a hard time taking action if what’s proposed sounds difficult to achieve, demanding of resources or threatening to the well-being of self or others. *Fears need to be addressed. Nerves need to be calmed.  And you will likely have a large group of constituents with difficulty getting on board if they can’t see HOW something is going to be implemented.  The time required to shift people from resistant to motivated may be frustrating and yet, without this kind of care, concern and hand holding, you may not get this potentially large part of your population on board with change.  And, if people are dragging their feet, efforts at change can be sabotaged and timely opportunities lost.  This is why addressing concerns and answering questions about the HOW of a change is vital to success.

Credibility, Likability & Trust    

And, there will always be people who don’t like, believe or trust you.  It’s vital that you establish credibility PERTINENT to the change you’re proposing. If you have education or experience that earns you respect for this particular objective then make it known – or have someone else do so when introducing you. If you have expertise that others lack – emphasize that. If you were successful at leading others through a similar situation in the past – especially a difficult one – make sure your followers know. If they recognize YOU are the best hope for a successful transition they may realize it’s in their best interest to follow you, whether they like you or not.  Of course, trust is a HUGEissue, so you will need enough proof of your credibility to overcome that form of resistance.

*Fears – So not to confuse or contradict, my previous blog stated that fear of loss is usually a stronger motivator than opportunity for gain. And there arecritical times when you MUST use fear of loss to get people on board with change. This does not conflict with the idea that when, where an how to work THROUGH this important emotion can be a matter of circumstance, timing or lobbying of individuals.        

Rich Drinon, M.A. is a leadership communication skills coach with an advanced education in leadership communication, 30 years of experience coaching leaders and managers and expertise in the art and science of persuasion.  


From → Persuasion

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