I’ve been thinking a lot lately about resistance to change. The RogersAdoption / Innovation curve (innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, laggards) is referenced in some form by most people involved in change management.

Now, I’m not an innovator myself. My special form of creativity doesn’t manifest itself by coming up with new ideas that no one else has thought of, or completely new ways to do things. I’d tag myself as being in theearly adopter or maybe early majority categories most of the time.

So it can be a stretch for me to work with the late majority or laggards. “Don’t you know this will be good for you?” I ask incredulously. “Can’t you see all the benefits and advantages that you will have once you’ve made this change?” I confess that I get very impatient sometimes.

Fortunately I have great team members that a) calm me down and prevent me from sending career-limiting emails, and b) remind me that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Or, as the movie musical “Mary Poppins” character sings, “Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.”

(Of course, as she’s singing that, she’s snapping her fingers and making the children’s clothes go back into the drawers without any effort on anyone’s part.)

But in the real world, it’s good to ask ourselves what’s in it for the stakeholders, and try to see what would make the change more palatable. The trick is, it has to been seen as a value-added return even before the gains are realized. For example, a promise that the work will be easier might not be believed, even if you know it will be true.

Have you found a good way to engage stakeholders who might need a little extra encouragement to buy into a change plan? It would be most helpful if you would share your experiences!

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