I wrote a book called “The Handling Resistance Pocketbook” that was published in September 2010. I like to think it’s a fine book and certainly five people to date have given it good reviews on the UK Amazon site. Thanks mum.
And no, contrary to Amazon.com, it isn’t out of print. It’s their way of saying they don’t have any stock, I think!
Its primary selling points are that it is clear, it is practical, and it has no real competitors. One book a bit like it is the brilliant “Beyond the Wall of Resistance” by Rick Maurer, but as you’d guess, it only tackles resistance to change. My book also tackles resistance to ideas and also sales objections. Of course there are plenty of books on sales objection handling, but none I know of put it in the wider context of resistance.
So why do I say “Don’t buy my book…”?
The book is predicated on the assumption that people will need to deal with resistance, and that one of the largest segments of the market will be dealing with resistance to change. There is a section that specifically deals with that, but the book is full of useful tools and techniques.
But I wonder; how many people would tell you, in a survey, that they are resistant to change? I would bet that most people will say that they are pretty flexible and regularly embrace change.
Why is it then, that resistance to change is so frequent? Is it just a case of “you get what you look for in life”? That is to say, if you expect me to resist, that’s the behaviour you’ll see. Maybe, you don’t need to handle resistance, you just need to look for acceptance.
Maybe you don’t need the book…
That argument works very well in some circumstances. Training is a good example: I learned early on that “there are no resistant participants on a training course, just inflexible trainers”. Whilst I am not naive enough to think that there is no awkward b*****d is waiting for me in a training room somewhere, its been my experience that this saying is true. If you treat people as if they want to learn and you respect their process, they’ll pretty well all get on with it.
The Resistance Paradox
In times of change, however, people do resist – for real. And I would go so far as to suggest that, if you are making a significant change, resistance is inevitable. There may be another reason for this apparent paradox between people believing they welcome change, and me asserting they will always resist.
We don’t always want to resist, but the process of resisting starts at an unconscious level. So we don’t see ourselves as resistant; it is just an emergent behaviour, linked to how our brains are wired.
That is why my golden rule for handling resistance is:
“I will always respect my resisters”
You may not like the resistance – and you may deprecate the way that it’s expressed, but the resister is always a human being looking for ways to cope.
This means not going into a situation looking for trouble, but being prepared for it if it comes your way: not by reacting against it, but by being respectful of people’s need to express themselves.
Of course, some people will always resist for good solid reasons: like they don’t like the change you are proposing. But that’s another blog. More of this at www.HandlingResistance.com