I spoke with an aspiring coach earlier this week. He asked me if people I ever coached were “resistant.”
I don't label people as “resistant.” If I need to label them, I think about this term, “People with data I should hear.”
I like to think about what people resist, especially people in technical organizations. We are in the business of changing how other people work and live with our technology. Do we resist change? I don't think so. I agree with Senge:
People don't resist change. They resist being changed. — Peter Senge
For me, that's often because we, the technologists, have decided on one solution. We push that solution—too often, that One Right Solution, that we decided—to our users. In the case of an agile transformation, someone decided on the “One Right Agile Approach” and is pushing that approach to the teams.
When people push a solution to me, I tend to resist. I ask, “Are there other options?” And, I ask tons of what-if questions.
We inflict help when we push solutions. Sometimes, we need to inflict that help. More often, we don't.
If you are seeing people you think are resistant to change, ask yourselves if you invited them to the change. Did you hear their data?
And, if you want to explore this more, join us at the Influential Agile Leader workshop June 7-8, 2016. We have room for just a couple more people.