Organizational Change efforts recommend handling resistors and getting people on your side. Sometimes that resistance can be a single person, but often it’s a storm of many. Are we trying to get a Sharknado into a cage, instead of trying to channel the shark’s energy?
When my husband was a kid, like a lot of little boys, he couldn’t sit still. His teachers were frustrated and called home many times. Finally he got a teacher that channeled his energy, she made him her helper. That way he could move around a little more and focus on a purpose. That was his best school year. Can we do the same thing with our troublesome resistors?
What do you do with a Sharknado?
Harness the Power. A Sharknado is a driven by some discontent shared by many people. There’s power behind that discontent. Can your efforts help them with the very thing they are discontent about? If not, your change is not their priority. If so, aligning your efforts with their concerns can catalyze success for everyone. Let’s take a common example, people are resisting because they fear job loss. Will your change effort create more jobs if successful? Will it make people more marketable in the event of job loss? How does the change protect jobs? If your Sharknado feels that the change gives them a better chance of staying employed than getting laid off, they’ll direct their energy to the change.
It’s not Personal. In the movie, Finding Nemo, Bruce the Shark tries to stop eating fish, but he falls off the wagon and tries to eat the fish he has befriended. It wasn’t personal, he’s a shark. When leading a change effort, remember that resistance is not about you, it’s about individual fears.
The Company Created the Sharknado. It might also help to remember that resistance has been cultivated by the organization itself. Going back to the fear of job loss example, companies that lay people off frequently, have created a fear of job loss. The fear is not unfounded. The reward and punishment system that is in place will create the resistance you face. Are the reward and punishment systems going to change as part of your efforts? Changing those systems will be your ticket to smooth change.
What Sharknados do you have at work? Let us know!