Growth and Change: The 7 layers of resistance

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Resistance to change goes through several “layers” that run through the different phases of the change process - from identifying the problem to implementing the developed solution.

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Claudia Simon Best of HR –®Claudia Simon is the managing director of VISTEM GmbH & Co. KG.


From the author:


And why do we have to do it differently now?

Anyone who has ever suggested a change to a group probably knows the discouraging feeling, if the enthusiasm limits itself, and even raises objections to one.

Often, even a win-win solution encounters resistance. The seven layers of the resistance can differ slightly from case to case and have a different weight:

What should be changed?

  • Layer 0: Disagreement over existence - "Everything is going well!" : Companies often no longer perceive their own problems. Both cause-effect relationships and research in the company itself make problems visible again. Why is it assumed that there is no problem? Are the goals achieved within the desired framework? The company must slowly be brought up to reality.
  • Layer 1: lack of agreement on the problem - "What's the problem?" or "Is that my problem?" : Even if all parties agree on the existence of the problem, it does not mean they are talking about the same problem. Through a cause-and-effect relationship, it is clear to everyone where the basic conflict is and can thus identify all effects. Only then can the solution start.

Where should the change take place?

  • Layer 2: Mismatch in resolution - "And that should solve our problem?" : In order to find a suitable solution, with which everyone is satisfied, it is useful to create a list of all criteria which should satisfy a satisfactory solution. In this way, all of them have the necessary distance to critically evaluate solutions and to develop the right direction. If the chosen solution is robust enough and there are no better suggestions, it is selected.
  • Layer 3: disagreement over the result of the solution - "It doesn't work!" or "It will never be anything!" : The selected solution must now be worked out. If there is any objection to the outcome, you should include a proposed amendment to cover all critical aspects and produce positive effects. If such a contribution is not possible, the proposal may be rejected and replaced by a better one.
  • Layer 4: Fear of New Side Effects - "Yes but…" : Despite a suitable solution, many companies still prefer the current situation, as the unknown changes may involve new risks and side effects, or even lose existing positive aspects. This layer is more stubborn than imagined. Only when all reservations are cleared out of the way can one begin with the implementation of the solution.

How should the change be caused?

  • Layer 5: lack of clarity on how obstacles can be overcome - "We can never do it!" : Now it is the implementation of the found solution. In the identification and neutralization of possible obstacles, objections play a vital role. They are used constructively by placing an intermediate goal aside for each obstacle. This eliminates obstacles one by one and creates a robust implementation plan.
  • Layer 6: predictable inertia despite successful approval - "Why is nothing happening here?" : Despite the fact that they have already been matched, passive resistance can be caused by boycotts or inertia. Fear of loss of status or failure, a certain hesitancy or even cynicism due to previous experiences with quickly forgotten improvement initiatives can be unspoken reasons. It is up to the management to provide a long-term course and to demand the necessary cooperation in order to advance. In order to involve employees better, it is important to submit tasks to them in order to bind the success of the initiative to personal success and to keep everyone motivated.

The road to growth

The order in which the layers are processed plays a role. After all, it doesn't have one Senseto talk about the solution before everyone agrees what the real problem is. A structured approach will also steer the discussion into productive channels. After all, all parties want to reach a goal together.

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  1. Job college

    Growth & Change - 1/2: The 7 Layers of Resistance by Claudia Simon - Highly recommended o5ESErc4p1 - Highly recommended ape3XntRjr


    Growth & Change - 1/2: The 7 Layers of Resistance by
    Claudia Simon

    via @berufebilder - Recommended contribution 6kdW0DZ9QE

  3. Thomas Eggert

    Growth & Change - 1/2: The 7 Layers of Resistance by
    Claudia Simon

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