Today I will Do What Others Won't
So Tomorrow I Can Do What Others Can't

How to stop people from torpedoing your change journey forever

It’s all about Understanding How People React to Change

One of the greatest insights you can get in possibility leadership is the understanding of how people are going to react to change. This includes YOURSELF.

People react to change in an almost universal manner. They will, in most cases go through four stages. Some people will move through some or all stages fast, others will be incredibly slow but by applying some emotional intelligence to the change you are trying to bring about you can understand where people are at and then act on them personally.

There are four core stages that people go through in stage.

1.     Denial

2.     Resistance

3.     Exploration

4.     Commitment

Once this understanding is universal in your business it can become a powerful communication tool for managers and people in general. It gives you not only a tool to evaluate where people are at based on their behaviours but it also gives them a tool to communicate to you with.

For example, some of the more emotionally intelligent members of your staff will be able to tell you things like, I’m interested in your change but I’m not yet ready to commit because I feel the need to explore it some more.

As a leader of the change, you are most likely to already be committed to the change and it is very important that you become aware of where people may be on the road to being committed to your change.

The goal of understanding where people are at and being able to help them through that stage is so that as possibility leaders we can flatten the curves and shorten the timeframe to commitment.

Understanding The Curve

At each stage, people will exhibit emotions and behaviours cognisant with where they are at in the change curve.

In order to make use of this tool you need to do the following:

1.     Examine what people are saying and doing

2.     Gauge what stage might them or you be in

3.     Respond – What can I do to help THEM.

Our goal when using possibility leadership is to:

1.     Shorten Denial

2.     Flatten Resistance

3.     Acceleration Exploration

4.     Heighten Commitment and make it STICK!

Use empathy to accelerate the process. Empathy feels a connection. It’s about perspective taking, staying out of judgement and feeling with people.

Empathy does not start with “At Least…” That is sympathy and sympathy doesn’t help anyone!

Understand the Change Curve and How to help People through the Stages of Change.


Those who are sitting in the Denial stage will be in reality unaware of what the change involves, they’ve heard something is changing, they might have heard rumours or know a little bit of knowledge but in reality, they are unaware of what the change entails. They immediately put up barriers to the change. They are in denial that the change is coming and don’t want their world to be rocked.

Important things to do for those in Denial:

1.     Be Available

2.    Have the Facts

3.    Ask if they have any questions


Once people move on from Denial, they are into Resistance and once they get to resistance. They are aware of what the change entails, they may not have all the details or completely understand why you are changing, they probably don’t yet know all the implications of the change but will have a reasonable awareness about it. They are going to be resistant to the change, they know what the change is now and they don’t want their boat rocked. They are going to be exhibiting behaviours that will try to block the change coming.

Important things to do for those in Resistance:

1.     Seek first to understand

2.    Specify and Clarify

3.    Be open to the possibility their resistance is valid


The third stage is Exploration. Exploration is where someone now understands what the change is, they understand how it is going to effect them and they are prepared to explore the possibility you are showing them. These are your fence sitters. They could swing back into resistance or swing into the next stage of the curve to bring themselves into commitment. These people are going to say things like: “I know why you are wanting to do this but I’m not sure I can see how that will benefit us”. If you don’t give them what they need at this stage they will fall back into resistance but if you can give them what they need they will move into Commitment which is where you can start to get people to live your possibility.

Important things to do for those in Exploration:

1.     Get their contribution to the solution

2.    Encouragement

3.    Regular Check-Ins


The final major stage is commitment, By the time you get people into this stage, they are committed to the change. I break the commitment stage up into two subsections, Believe and Act. At the start of the Believe stage, they believe in your change but are still fence sitting, they are not yet ready to act. Eventually, Belief turns into action and that action is what brings about your possibility.

Important things to do for those in Commitment:

1.     Sustain the Change

2.    Keep the Momentum


By applying some emotional intelligence to your change initiative and being conscious of where your staff are at you can help them get on board with your change. Understanding how people react to change will enable you to use fair process to bring about sustainable change without going to the expense of forcing your company down complex methodologies they don’t need to bring about change.

If you like what you see here, don’t forget to like, comment, tag a friend that could do with some help and share!

Have a great week!

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