Changing the way we do things requires doing things differently and causes resistance. In fact, habits are some of the hardest things to change and that is why when we want to create change, we will talk about making the change a “habit”. Resistance is the bane of change. Resistance is like gravity that holds us in place. Resistance is the dark cloud of yesterday that still hovers over our head today.
Resistance in business is often characterized by owners feeling overwhelmed by all the work to do AND the leadership needed to get to where the business needs to go. This often leads to a cynicism that is akin to a negative attitude. “Why bother?“, “I won’t do anything until after the election“, “My customers just don’t understand my constraints“, “My employees just don’t understand the economy“, and I could go on and on about the resistance all of us feel from time to time. Whether resistance leads to negativity or negativity leads to resistance, it doesn’t matter because it needs to change.
Resistance cannot be eliminated. Changing your reaction to resistance can be changed. Think of a detour sign as an indication of resistance. Would you stop at the sign and just quit? Probably not, least the people behind you will get annoyed. Would that detour cause you to be negative? Some would say yes, as it will slow you down, it is unplanned for, it is inconvenient – but most average people will “suck it up” and follow the alternate route. The alternate route is the key to changing resistance in your own situation.
Changing the resistance often can mean having an alternate plan or a “what if” plan. A small company I was working with some years back was going through serious positive growth. Growing a business requires capital (aka money) and we would actively track all the inflows and outflows of cash and make estimates of what cash would be needed in the next three months. Having a line of credit was key to keeping the growth on track and the staff paid and happy. The bookkeeper asked one day, why we bothered to do this planning as the company only drew down the line of credit once. The thoughtful owner responded – “The act of planning means we are all aware of what we can control and what we cannot. The more we control, the less we have to rely on outside help.” I’d add to this elegant answer, the resistance to planning was changed by regular planning and the negativity of planning was changed to positive by the smooth operations.
To lessen resistance in your life and business:
- Plan what you will do,
- Chose your team wisely,
- Identify the detours and
- Select the alternate routes before they are needed.