The Handling Resistance Pocketbook

A pocketful of techniques to overcome rejection of your ideas, resistance to change, and objections to your proposals

Mike Clayton

“This provided a useful step by step approach to break down the hurdles, rather than being faced with blanket resistance and then not knowing where to begin.”

Stella Collins, Director, Stellar Learning


The Handling Resistance Pocketbook is by author and speaker, Dr Mike Clayton.

There really is no book like this.  Using Mike’s own Onion Model of resistance, you will learn how to understand resistance, engage with it positively and change minds.  These tools and techniques work for resistance to your ideas, sales objections and resistance to change.

The Handling Resistance Pocketbook is Mike’s second contribution to the Management Pocketbooks series following his highly successful Management Models Pocketbook. In this book, Mike turns to a topic about which he is passionate: the need to engage positively with resistance.

Whether it is resistance to your ideas, to your sales pitch, or to change, Mike’s Onion Model of resistance will help you understand what is going on.  The book will also give you a pocketful of techniques to handle that resistance in a positive and respectful manner.  There really is not another book like this – covering techniques for resistance to ideas, to sales and to change, and offering a wide range of powerful tools and techniques.


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  1. Understanding Resistance
  2. The Power of Process
  3. Stay in Harmony
  4. Questioning, Listening & Reframing
  5. Resistance to Change
  6. Resistance to Sales
  7. Handling Conflict
  8. Psychological Resistance

From Stella Collins
Founder of Stellar Learning and co-founder of Brain in Business and
the Brain Friendly Learning Group

“This provided a useful step by step approach to break down the hurdles, rather than being faced with blanket resistance and then not knowing where to begin.”

“I liked his very constructive approach that gave me a feeling that most resistance could be overcome with some simple research, preparation and tools. However, there are also some reassuring sections on what to do if things don’t go to plan and you find yourself in an escalating situation.”

Read Stella’s full review of The Handling Resistance Pocketbook below, at the foot of this tab.

From Nick Alcock
Corporate Learning and Organisational Development Manager at
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

“Using thought-provoking frameworks supported with examples and insightful asides, Mike Clayton brings his talent for providing clarity to a challenging and essential topic. Anyone seeking to influence or lead change will benefit greatly from this work.”

From Mark Holmes
Deputy Director at the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

“A handy resource of tools and hints, relevant to virtually all walks of life.  Practical without taking itself too seriously.”

From Paula Gardner
Author of Do your own PR and founder of The Reputation Professionals

“If you’re always the one coming up with the great ideas but find yourself struggling to get your team behind you, Handling Resistance Pocketbook is a great little resource that will help you understand why some people just don’t get motivated and others actively fight change.

It gives practical advice on how you can address their issues and get them on your side, and can also be used in sales situations when faced with a customer that needs that little extra bit of convincing.” 

From Ron Rosenhead
CEO of Project Agency

“I am frequently asked for help by people who are stuck. They cannot get a department to buy into the idea or, someone is acting as a gatekeeper and they do not know what to do about it. Well, here’s the answer. Mike Clayton has packed his Pocketbook with lots of great ideas that are:

  • easy to read
  • easy to understand
  • easy to think through

All of which makes great and it easier to apply back in the workplace.  Good reading; good content and good book. All in a small size too!” 

From Sean Whyte
Amazon.co.uk Review *****

“This is a very handy, useful little book.

  • It’s written in clear, simple and mostly non-technical language.
  • It covers only one topic per page, which makes it easy to dip in and out of the handbook as you need to, and to skip to the topic of interest.
  • Key concepts, especially Mike’s illuminating Onion Model, are reprised from more than one perspective, and used in practical examples.
  • It’s based on principles including respect, honesty and understanding – in my view, a sound footing for dealing with other people.

Although the book focuses on business and management, it’s equally applicable to my own field (the NHS), and to other human and social services. If you’re looking for a quick and simple guide to dealing with resistance from other people, this book is for you.”

From Jackie Barrie
Copywriter and founder of Comms Plus and author of the
Little Fish Guide to DIY Marketing

“Who has time to read dense, heavy volumes these days? Mike has packed giant-size advice into a pocket-size book for the breakthrough you need when dealing with resistance.

There are plenty of practical examples throughout, and the illustrations are a great way to help remember the content, especially the simple ‘onion’ diagram.

Next time you meet resistance, pull this little book out!” 

From Sally Bett
Amazon.co.uk Review *****

“When people reject your suggestions and resist your ideas for change, it’s very easy to withdraw into your shell and feel ‘why bother?’. I’ve certainly been there! So this book was very useful at giving me an insight into why people resist, and in giving me strategies to avoid this resistance – or handle it if it is inevitable (when you’re giving bad news etc). This book is thought-provoking but is written in a very comprehensive style with practical tips to try out the next time somebody says ‘NO!'” 

 

Full Review from Stella Collins

Book Review

Handling Resistance Pocketbook by Mike Clayton

Pocketbooks manage to squeeze huge amounts of information and helpful concepts and techniques into a digestible format, usually focused on a particular issue or need. And this one meets those criteria perfectly.

Mike Clayton has managed to crystallise a large number of models, theories and ideas and focus them all on the topic of ‘Handling Resistance’ so this book is great if you want to swot up when you know you’re about to deal with a challenging proposal, sales call or meeting. And there are plenty of ideas in there too that would apply just as well outside work.

He starts with an ‘onion’ model for handling resistance which recurs throughout the book. This provided a useful step by step approach to break down the hurdles, rather than being faced with blanket resistance and then not knowing where to begin.
He considers how resistance is part of a process and therefore natural, so gives you ways to work with it rather than fight it. There are sections on staying in harmony with other people and some useful ideas on how to reframe a situation. Change and Sales Objections are covered specifically and I particularly liked Mike’s thoughts on getting help, without dropping a colleague in it.

Because there are so many concepts and ideas in the book I think occasionally it might have been nice to get more detail on particular strategies, but that would have undermined the breadth of the book.

I liked his very constructive approach that gave me a feeling that most resistance could be overcome with some simple research, preparation and tools. However, there are also some reassuring sections on what to do if things don’t go to plan and you find yourself in an escalating situation.
Having read this book I feel much better equipped to handle resistance – and am tempted to go out and try it straight away!

Download a free extract from the Handling Resistance Pocketbook

Order a pdf version of the Handling Resistance Pocketbook from here.

Download Mike’s articles from Training Journal:

  • Resistance to Engagement (August 2011)
    Employee engagement initiatives often meet with scepticism, resistance and even hostility.  Why is this? Can we understand the source of the resistance and build on this understanding to create positive ways to handle it?
  • Creating the Onion Model (September 2011)
    Mike Clayton explains how he created his onion model for for resistance – to ideas, to change, to sales, and to employee engagement