Master Facilitator Journal

Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0348, June 24, 2008
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This week's issue is about Why People Resist Change by Daryl Conner, Chairman of Conner Partners. Daryl is an internationally-recognized expert in the field of change management and a well-known advisor to corporate leaders engaged in executing strategic initiatives. He is also the author of Managing at the Speed of Change.

For our next expert series, join us for an interivew with Daryl on Thursday July 10th at 1:00 pm EDT. We are excited and honored to present Daryl as he will be speaking to us about facilitating the execution of strategic initiatives.

If you know of someone who might be interested in being on our tele-interview show, please do not hesitate to contact us. Look forward to seeing you on Thursday July 10th at 1:00 PM EDT.

Keep your wonderful feedback coming as it is much appreciated and valued.
Look forward to seeing you next Tuesday.

Thank you for being a part of this growing community.


Site Manager,


The Point

Why people resist change

How to manage resistance and reduce the risk of failure.


The effective management of change is one of the greatest challenges facing organizations today. Regardless of the type of initiative engaged, as long as it represents a major change, resistance is an inevitable response. Although resistance is a natural reaction and cannot be eliminated, understanding the reasons for resistance will help organizations prepare for and manage it.

Conner Partners™ gathered data from 457 managers and executives representing a wide range of organizations facing various types of major change (re-engineering, downsizing, new technology, etc.). Individuals responded to 25 items listing issues that have been identified as possible sources of resistance. Based on this data, we were able to identify items most often cited as reasons for failure to support a change.


The top six reasons why individuals resist change are shown below. In each case, a rating of “1” indicates the issue was not seen as a concern, while a rating of “10” indicates the issue was of major concern:

bullet Current level of stress: When people are already busy and under stress, the additional pressure of a change may become too much for them to assimilate.

bullet Inadequate rewards for accomplishing change: For people to be motivated to change, a reward must be provided in the form of something they truly value.

bullet Low involvement for planning the change: It is human nature for people to support what they have helped create. If people do not believe they have had a significant degree of input into the planning of a change, resistance usually increases.

bullet High tangible, intellectual, or emotional costs of change: People resist changes that appear to be too costly relative to what they will gain.

bullet Lack of consideration for daily work patterns: Failing to acknowledge the impact a change may have on people’s work patterns tends to promote distrust and alienation.

bullet Unclear communication during change: Even if a change affects only one other person, communication can be easily distorted.

These resistance issues are the most commonly cited by our sample. Interestingly, all of the highest rated issues can be influenced by effective change-management methods.


Remembering why individuals are likely to resist a change will help manage resistance and reduce the risk of failure. We'd love to hear your perspective on this important subject.  Please email your comments to us.

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