Resistance is a necessary part of the process.ï¿½ Whether you are selling stuff, or selling ideas (or even giving them away); whether you are creating change, or teaching students; you can expect to get some resistance.ï¿½ After all, you are asking people to change something and that is uncomfortable.
With careful planning, however, you can avoid some of the ï¿½un-necessaryï¿½ resistance ï¿½ resistance that arises from misinformation, misunderstanding and down-right ignorance.
Three Powerful Planning Tools
Three of my favourite tools are:
- Stakeholder Triage
- Communication Schedule
- Transition Plan
In this post, Iï¿½ll show you stakeholder triage.ï¿½ In subsequent blogs, weï¿½ll look at the other two.
Fascinating fact No 1:ï¿½ Triage does not imply three of anything.ï¿½ It comes from the French: ï¿½sortingï¿½.
Stakeholder triage is not a full analysis of your stakeholders, any more than medical triage is a full diagnosis of a patientï¿½s condition.ï¿½ It is, however, a valuable process to quickly assess where to focus your efforts and determine a principal strategy.
There are two dimensions to consider and different practitioners may choose these according to their needs.ï¿½ My favourites are:
What do you anticipate your potential resisterï¿½s attitude will be to your product, service, idea, or change?ï¿½ By the nature of resistance, you will be focusing on those you predict will have an adverse response, but there is something to be gained by looking at the others too.
How much impact do you anticipate the resistance from this stakeholder will have upon the case you are trying to make?ï¿½ You will focus on those who can be most disruptive.
This gives us a simple grid:
The Four Strategies
Now letï¿½s look at four strategies for pre-empting resistance.
Strategy 1:ï¿½ Woo and Win
Do everything that is ethical to win over your potential resister, by keeping them informed and involving them in discussions.ï¿½ Spend time with them getting their opinions and building rapport.
Strategy 2:ï¿½ Support and Encourage
These people are not likely resisters, so do what you can to help them to help you.
Strategy 3:ï¿½ Engage and Harness
With he potential impact that this group can wield, invest time in winning their support for your efforts to woo and win potential resisters.ï¿½ Third party endorsements will always have more impact than your own efforts.
Strategy 4:ï¿½ Monitor and Outvote
You should certainly be prepared to influence this group, but with their low potential impact, also be prepared to limit your commitment.ï¿½ If their resistance is weak and you can outvote them, then you need not be too concerned.ï¿½ If, however, the impact of their resistance increases, you need to spot this early and shift to Strategy 1.
The Key Points
- Handling resistance starts with planning
- There are lots of great tools
- A good starting place is a quick triage of potential attitudes and impacts