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What is resistance to change, really?

June 28, 2019

Recently, a non-profit organization that was experiencing significant changes in their organization asked me to come in and speak to them at their offsite meeting about overcoming change resistance. I had 90 minutes to help them overcome resistance to change. My brain's initial response to this request was, "What? You want me to solve this problem with a 90 minute talk?" Then I realized that in my experience what looks like resistance is really just discomfort. People don't like discomfort, and so they avoid it, and that looks like resistance. I suggested that the best use of our time together would be to invite the team to explore both the positive and not-so-positive observations they were having in relation to the changes they were experiencing at work, and then to begin looking at what they wanted to create together. They agreed. 

 

I used The Coaching Game from Points of You® to facilitate the exploration of change with the team. Before we began I set up the game in the traditional Points of You® method with a centerpiece and visually appealing display. The chairs were set in a circle around the game, and we began with a Pause in which participants are asked to become present, get grounded, check in with how they are feeling, and to relax into the process. The purpose of the pause is to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, also known as the "rest and digest" response that supports learning and creativity. This is in contrast to the sympathetic nervous system known as the "fight, flight or freeze" response that might be triggered when you are asked to participate in a workshop about overcoming your resistance to change - or when you walk into what you thought was a business meeting and see something like the image below - can you see it? 

 

 

After the pause and setting the stage for what we would be doing, we began the activity. Each participant selected one face-down card, and then partnered up with someone else, sitting knee-to-knee with them. We did three rounds, switching cards and partners in each round and sharing a story from The Coaching Game story book between each round. The first round was to share "the half-full cup of change," what was working, what did they appreciate, what were the benefits? In the second round they explored "the half-empty cup of change," what was not working, what were they tolerating, what might they need to let go of? In the final round, their card was The Joker, a wild card, representing the question, "What do you want to invite in, or what do you want to create?" 

 

After the final round I invited participants to return to the circle and share insights and takeaways from this activity, and provided a handout for them to capture their thoughts and authentic actions they could take in the next 24 hours, 7 days and 30 days to move them closer to what they want to create. When I asked them about the value they got from this, here are some of the responses they shared with me:

  • The ability to get to know my coworkers on a more personal level

  • A deeper understanding of my team and insights about how to manage change; this was a great platform for team building

  • Reflection, perspective, better communication; this process helps build trust so we can work together more smoothly

  • How my coworkers feel at work and about workload, and also how I can help

  • This was great for learning about others we work with

  • High value - I got to know more about individuals and the organization in a very open format

  • The game made it easy to get conversations started, and I valued the opportunity to see my colleagues as human beings and not just coworkers

  • Insights from my coworkers on what they would like moving forward; it was a difficult process for me, but the outcome was significant

 

What do you notice in the way of themes from these comments? I would love to see your insights in the comments. What stood out for me was the longing to be human with one another, and to really build connections with each other. What would it be like if everyone on a team felt supported 100% by their teammates, and no one felt left out? Imagine what that would be like!

 

I am enamored with the Points of You® tools and methodologies exactly because they create this sense of connection with people, and they invite creativity, innovation and a sense of possibility that supports people to move forward. And I'm not the only one. Check out this video to hear from other coaches, trainers and facilitators their experience with these tools. If you would be interested in learning how to use these tools with your own team or clients, step into the exciting world of Points of You® Academy, a home for creative professionals from all over the world. Find a schedule for workshops held in the USA clicking on the link. As of this writing, my next workshop is Hello Points in Sacramento on July 12, 2019, with more to follow. I would love to have you join me. 

 

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