Change, Steps to take when a person doesn’t want to change

People don’t want to change.

We get wedded to doing things in a certain way and we want to keep doing it that way. And more times than not, the reason people resist, is because they haven’t been asked about the change and they don’t feel heard when asked.

So if you are working with someone that does not want to change , there are a few things you can try. Before you consider parting ways, which might be the right thing to do in the end.

Step 1: Ask

What is the issue

What do they want

Step 2: Listen

What do they say

Does it still enable the outcome of the change or block it

Step 3: Validate What you heard

Repeat what you heard

Make sure they agree you have understood them

Step 4: Provide Options 

Offer the person access to:

  • A new teams
  • A new roles
  • Training
  • Personal Leave
  • A mentor


Step 5: Ask if they want to leave

And let them if they want to.

If you have done everything in your power to help someone get on board and they decide that is not for them, the damage a person like that can do to change in an organisation is far greater then the cost of a redundancy.

Rock and Roll


P.S. What’s the one thing you don’t do, that would cause the most positive change in your life?



Change, tips for resolving resistance and conflict

I am going to assume you have been following my blogs on change to date, which means you know the answer to the 4matt of change, you know your outcome, you know the rub points, you have been able to answer what you are moving towards and away from and you have clearly communicated all these things to your team. Even with all this preparation, you are still hitting blockers.

If this is the case, there are a few things you are going to want to do. One of which starts by reading ‘Communicating Like a Boss‘ and going right to the section on ‘Rapport’. Key to your success with helping someone resistance to change, is going to be your ability to build ‘Rapport’ with them (you can also check out ‘Phone Rapport‘ and you will get the general sense of building rapport).

Next you are going to want to find why they are resistant, why don’t they want to change, what is it about the outcome they don’t agree with. Keeping in mind, this is not the time to win the person over, it is the time to listen and validate with them that you have heard what they said. This is easily done by repeating back what you think they said and ensuring they agree that you understand.

Next, you want to find out what they would want to happen differently, not with the promise of changing the change, but providing them an opportunity to give their thoughts and be considered.

Finally, agree to come back to the issue one hour/day/week from this moment and talk about the outcome and to see if their position has changed and if they still want to take part in the change……..

Wait, what…….. I feel like there is something important there?

If people do not want to be a part of change, you legitimately need to consider that they may not want to work in this environment any more and that should be provided as an option with no hard feelings. Sometimes when things change, those changes impact peoples values, beliefs and reasons for working for a company. You need to be prepared that people will leave, depending on the gravity of a change.

Now, with that out of the way, what other things can you do to help overcome change resistance?

  1. Enable peer to peer bitching
    • Giving people a recourse free way to bitch and moan about a change can be very cathartic and enable them to get on board with the change (so long as it does not get in the way of their work or negatively impact customers perception of the team).
  2. Listening
    • Providing the team access to multiple mediums to be heard including: open conversations, suggestion boxes, email addresses  and any other form a person might like to use to communicate in their own unique way.
    • Keep in mind, it is highly likely that the change is happening, regardless of what team members might think or say. With this in mind, spend lots and lots of time listening and very little time trying to convince people it is the right thing for them and that they should get on board.
  3. Defining your place in the new world
    • The ultimate reason people resist change is that they don’t understand their place in the new world order. If you want to help people get past their issue with change, you need to clearly spell out how they will be a part of the business going forward and that they are valuable to the success of the team going forward.
    • When doing this, make sure it is not a group email out, to get the best results talk with people one on one to communicate this.

If you have done all of this and there are still issues, it is time to move onto the next change topic, steps to take when a person doesn’t want to change.

Rock and Roll


P.S. What’s the one thing you don’t do, that would cause the most positive change in your life?


Change; what’s the rub?

If you cannot answer the question, “whats the rub”, then you don’t know your customer, your staff, or how the change is going to impact your business.

One of the most key things to your success is understanding exactly how your change will impact your team and your customers. It will require you to put your self in others shoes to get a sense of how they will take the change. By putting your self in someone else’s shoes, you will be able to have more empathy for the impact it will have on them.

One activity I have done multiple times to get other people perspectives on a situation, is an activity called ‘Perceptual Positions‘. The short version of this activity is to do the following:

“We are changing X and it will impact everyone in Y way”

  1. Looking at this from your own perspective, what is the impact and issues you will experience?
  2. Looking at this from members of staff and/or customers perspectives, what is the impact and issues they will experience (as if you were them)?
  3. Looking at this from an outside observers perspective, what is the impact and issues you can see everyone experiencing (as if you were the observer, observing the change happening to others)?

If you can imagine your self through this exercise, you should end up with a good list, from multiple perspectives, on the issues and challenges associated with implementing a change.

Check out the ‘Perceptual Positions‘ activity for more details on how to be successful with this activity.

Rock and Roll


P.S. What’s the one thing you don’t do, that would cause the most positive change in your life?


Change; a possible mindset

“Ultimately I don’t care how we get there, I support the outcome”

If your team knows the outcome of a change and they all agree they want to get there, how hard the change is or how it is executed can be pushed past if people can get their minds to ‘I support the outcome’.

So the question you need to answer is, what is the big picture? What is the outcome?

The short version of my blog on Goal Setting and Outcomes is:

  1. State in the positive exactly what you want
  2. Ensure it is focused towards what you want

If you can answer these two things, and your team wants what you state, then the mindset of “Ultimately I don’t care how we get there, I support the outcome” just might be in reach for you and your team.

Rock and Roll


P.S. What’s the one thing you don’t do, that would cause the most positive change in your life?





Change; towards and away?

So if you know the 4matt of the change you are implementing, the next thing you want to be able to answer is what you are moving towards and what you are moving away from.

This comes right out of NLP ‘Meta Programs‘. Among other things, people will either be ‘towards’ focused or ‘away from’ focused. What this means is, some people are more motivated by what they are getting away from and others are more motivate by what they are moving towards.

An example of each might be:


When I go to the gym, I am thinking about how good it will be when I am stronger, fitter, leaner and really, really healthy.

A person that is thinking like this is focused on the destination, what they are aiming for, where they are headed, they are focused on what they are moving ‘towards’.

Away From

I go to the gym because I don’t want to be weak and unhealthy anymore, I keep going so wont be fat when I am older.

A person that is thinking like this is focused on where they are coming from, what they are trying to get ‘away from’. They are interested in getting away from something.

Depending who you talk to, each is the right way of thinking about it. For you, as a person responsible for implementing change, you want to be clear on both. This will mean you can clearly communicate what you are moving away from and towards, when describing change.

For example:

The reason for X change, is so that we can get away from people hurting them selves in the storage room, and move towards a healthier and safer work place.

So in short, you want to know what you are getting away from and moving towards, as a result of the change you are implementing.

Rock and Roll


PS. What’s the one thing you don’t do, that would cause the most positive change in your life?





4Matt of Change

If you are responsible for implementing change at work, regardless of scale, there are four key things you need to be able to answer for the people affected by change.

  1. Why is the change happening
  2. What is the change
  3. How will the change be implemented
  4. What are the potential rub points (what if)

1. Why

There are people in this world that like to know the why! They ask questions like”why do we need to change”, or say things like “yeah, but why”. The why person needs the why up front, if you don’t mention why the change is happening and you go right into how you want them to change, it is entirely probable that they will not even hear you, until they know why.

2. What

The what person is looking for the evidence, the details, the background and any other information that describes what is changing and how that decision has been made. Though they may not overly focus on the why, they will not listen to how the change will happen, if they believe you have not sufficiently described what is changing and the background behind it.

3. How

The how person is the one waiting to be told how to implement the change. What do they need to do, what action do they need to take. They mostly don’t care about the why and the what, they are waiting for the how. 

4. What if

The what if person is thinking about all the things that could go wrong, they are thinking about the other ways you could implement the change, they are thinking about how it could be done better. The what if person wants an opportunity to talk about all of those things and will be able to point out where there could be issues. The what if person may show some interest in the why, what and how, but to keep them on board you will need to give them a chance to be heard.

What does all of this mean? When thinking about implementing a change you will want to be able to answer the why, what, how and what if. Then, when it’s time to as people to change you have the perfect template to communicate with.

You might say something like the following if you were responsible for changing how staff are rostered:

“There are changes happening to the roster. 

The reason why this change is happening is to provide an opportunity for new team members to work at busy times for the store.

What has has happened in the past is new members have been rostered on in the quiet periods, providing time for training, but not exposing them to enough customers. As a result, the area manager and my self decided to change the roster to have one experiences member on, on Saturdays, with two new team members. 

How this will work for the next few months is, I will need all experienced members to give up two Saturday’s per month. These shifts will go to the new team members. 

What’s the rub? For the next few months some team members will miss out on Saturday shifts. To try and bridge the loss in pay, we would like to offer an extra hour of work for each team member that has given up a Saturday shift. Though this won’t cover the losses time, we hope the shortening in training times will have an overall improvement to the team. Once training is complete, we plan to return back to the standard rostering process.

Are there any questions or issues people would like to raise?”

Though this example is highly specific to a retail scenario, the theme of what, what, how and what if should be clear.

If you have any questions on how to come up with your own 4matt of change, comment below or join in on the conversation in the Facebook group ‘PDBOK‘.

Rock and Roll


P.S. What’s the one thing you don’t do, that would cause the most positive change in your life?

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