Resistance is common, especially in an agile organizational transformation. They have exercised and practiced their business method and strategy for months or years, resulting in tricky interactions and embracing change.
Individuals have different reasons why they resist these changes, and it’s challenging for some coaches to shift this resistance to embracement and requires additional observation and exploration.
Whenever Pinnacle offers Agile Transformation, we constantly face resistance from organizations, which is very common. Our coach team ensures to deliver fundamentals to the most vital importance of agility and agile transformation in our journey towards nurturing and guiding their organizations to agile. Still, even with this strategy, our understanding is not the same, and it is okay. Resistance is a normal reaction to change.
In handling resistance to change, we use three conversation strategies to explore more about this resistance: observation, neutral language, and embracing changes.
Emotional responses to agile transformation are sometimes invisible, and coaches need to dig in to understand why individuals are resistant to changes.
Our coaches faced different individuals and behaviors, and our experiences taught us to be more observant of body language, behavior, and non-verbal cues. Observing this factor will allow us to diagnose and manage the resistance.
After observing the individuals, it is time to create a conversation with them. Most coaches ask questions, but this can be an interrogation for defensive individuals or tremendous pressure toward change.
Instead of asking, make a neutral conversation and say, “You are quiet in the entire training, and I can’t figure out what your silence means.” This way, you simply say that the trainee is quiet and nothing else. You are not accusing or judging the behavior, resulting in more open conversation and trust.
Practice to yourself to count at least four to five seconds after you deliver your observation before adding another conversation. This way, trainees have enough time to speak up. Some coaches find this strategy hard but provide the entire room and listen to what they say.
Whether you are a coach or another trainee, control yourself from filling in. Interrupting them can stop them from sharing their thoughts, so stop filling in to resolve the person’s emotional resistance to changes.
In managing resistance, the neutral conversation allows them to respond safely and helps coaches determine reasons and how to help these individuals embrace agile transformation and other organizational development.