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No change without resistance. But how do you deal with it?

Resistance is inherent to transformation. As mentioned in another blog, we are creatures of habit and do not like change. So you get resistance. That is also an important reason why transformation processes are not fully or not realised. So it's best to learn to deal with it.

And what is that then: 'learning to deal'?

What it is not:

  • Sticking your head in the sand.

  • Combating fire with fire (going into resistance yourself).

  • Suppressing resistance.

Where there's smoke, there's fire

So you have to put out the fire. And that takes a lot of work.

Digital transformation is about getting people on board. In your story, in the goals you want to set with the process, in the actions that are needed. Ideally, people become ambassadors of digital transformation. In the worst case, they go into resistance.

Resistance has many faces

Resistance manifests itself in subtle and less subtle ways. You may notice that employees - despite the fact that you have invested a lot of time in framing and explaining things - still ask critical questions. Then you know: the mayonnaise isn't working.

"Or people don't cooperate. They always have a reason not to step into the change. Not enough time, not the right material, not the right people, no support, no story, no skills ..."

Explicit resistance arises when the drumbeat begins to do its work. The image of the transformation process comes under pressure, the support fades. People openly speak out against the change. And they take other people with them in their negative spiral.

Look for the why

Of course, there are many other expressions of resistance. It is important to keep in mind that resistance is an expression of something else. Of fear, of uncertainty, of frustration ...

People are creatures of habit. Change pulls on the known frameworks. The tree is shaken, and sometimes coconuts fall out. So you have to collect them. The hard shell is what you see, the soft content is what lies at the root of that behaviour.

Do you have to be a psychologist to be able to deal with resistance? Of course not. But you do have to - with a willingness to understand the other person - ask the right questions. So you know where it hurts. And what you can do to put out the fire.

Cooking with many ingredients

That requires a comprehensive skill set. Because you have to be able to work on different tracks. The TIMAF maturity model helps you get a sense of the many aspects that come into play in digital transformation. The 'Culture' dimension gives an overview of important domains where you can steer if you are confronted with resistance.

In addition, it helps you assess how far your organisation is on those different domains. And where your organisation can improve. Pain points are indeed potential sources of resistance. You can get to work with that. In this way, you take people with you in your digital transformation in a structured way."


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