Change Management:

Knowing People

Resistance to Change

Understanding and Overcoming Human and Organizational Barriers

Vadim Kotelnikov personal logo Vadim Kotelnikov

Founder, Ten3 Business e-Coach – Inspiration and Innovation unlimited!

"It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end." – Leonardo da Vinci 

10 Differences between a Winner and a Loser

  • Winner says: 'There ought to be a better way of doing this'

  • Loser says: 'Why change it? That's the way it's always been done'... More

Happy vs Unhappy People

10 Differences

  • Unhappy people fear change:  “It's the most unhappy people who most fear change.” ~ Mignon McLaughlin

  • Happy people create positive change: "Those only are happy who have their minds fixed on some object other than their own happiness: on the happiness of others, on the improvement of mankind, even on some art or pursuit, followed not as a means, but as itself the ideal end. Aiming thus at something else, they find happiness by the way." ~ Norman R. Augustine... More

12 Effective Leadership Roles

A. Create an Inspiring Vision & Lead by Example

  1. Create change; lead change; manage resistance to change... More

Resistance to Change in the Workplace

Main Reasons

  • Fear of the unknown. Change implies uncertainty, and uncertainty is uncomfortable. Not knowing what may potentially happen often leads to heightened anxiety. Resisting change is one of the anxiety-reducing actions.1

  • Fear of failure. The new order may require skill and abilities that may be beyond our capabilities. There is resistance to trying a new approach as people know how to operate in the existing order, but fear they will  not be able to acquire the new skills and behavior that will be required of them.

  • Disagreement with the need for change. Associates may feel that the new direction is a wrong direction.

  • Losing something of value. All associates want to know how the change will affect them. If people believe they will wind up losing as a result of the change, they will resist.

  • Leaving a comfort zone. People are afraid to go after what they want because it would force them to stretch their comfort zones. It's only natural to put off things that scare us, to sidestep goals that require us to leave our comfort zone and take a risk.

  • False beliefs. To put themselves at ease and avoid taking the risk, many people fool themselves into believing everything will all work out someday by itself.

  • Misunderstanding and lack of trust. People resist change when they do not understand its implications and perceive that it might cost them much more than they gain. Such situations often occur when trust is lacking between the person initiating the change and the employees.2

  • Inertia. All organizations suffer from inertia to some degree and try to maintain status quo. Change requires effort, oftentimes, a significant one. So, don't underestimate the power of fatigue and burnout.

Overcoming Resistance to Change

Most Common Ways2

  • Education and communication

  • Participation and involvement

  • Facilitation and support

  • Negotiation and agreement

  • Manipulation and co-optation

  • Explicit and implicit coercion

Why Do People Resist Change?

Yin-Yang of Change Management

Most people don't like change because they don't like being changed. When change comes into view, fear and resistance to change follow – often despite its obvious benefits.

People fight against change because they:

  • fear the unknown, or

  • fear to lose something they value, or

  • don't want to leave their comfort zone, or

  • don't understand the change and its implications, or

  • don't think that the change makes sense, or

  • find it difficult to cope with either the level or pace of the change.

Resistance emerges when there s a threat to something the individual values. The threat may be real or it may be just a perception. It may arise from a genuine understanding of the change or from misunderstanding, or even almost total ignorance about it.3

Why Change Fails: 8 Common Errors

Entrepreneurial Leader: 4 Specific Attributes

Change as an Unnatural Act

Change theory tells us that human systems seek homeostasis and equilibrium, i.e. prefer a predictable, stable world.4

Give People Time To Digest a New Idea

Give people time to digest a new idea. "Be persistent. Don't expect to "win" the first time. Your first job is just to start the other person thinking," advised Benjamin Franklin in his Bargaining Tips.

People always resist change, new ideas and new courses of action, even if the ideas are good for them. However, if they have an opportunity to digest these ideas for a few days, they may accept them with enthusiasm. Usually, an individual needs from 24 to 72 hours to absorb a new idea. So, present your ideas in very casual way, as thoughts for consideration or as a coaching or searching question, and then just leave the idea with others, say "we'll discuss this later"  and give them an opportunity to think about it for a few days... More

 Lessons from Jack Welch  3Ss of Winning in Business

Self-confidence: The root of many of bureaucracy ills is insecurity. Insecurity makes people resist change because they see change only as a threat, never as an opportunity... More

10 Commandments of Innovation

Lead Change. Create a mindset of creative dissatisfaction to reduce resistance to change... More






  1. "Managerial Leadership", Peter A. Topping

  2. "What Leaders Really Do", John P. Kotter

  3. "Performance Management", Phil Baguley

  4. "Strategic Management", Third Edition, Alex Miller

  5. "Motivation123", Jason Gracia

Change Management

Creating Change

Leading Change

The Wheel of Business Evolution