Resistance to Change LO24655

From: Eugene Taurman (
Date: 05/22/00

Replying to LO24640 --

Morty has it right and well written as well.

People may not accept change but they embrace improvement. If you having
trouble with change look at where people think you are taking them. If
they do not believe it is a better place to be they will passively resist,
hang back, or even thwart the change.

Change is hard. Improvement is somewhat easier. They must believe in the
destination or have blind faith in the leader. In most situations blind
faith is not attainable. Developing an understanding and acceptance of the
goals is usually attainable.

When people accept, understand and embrace the destination the change and
only then.

Grandpa and Grandma embraced change whenever it made sense and only then.
They selectively embraced thousands of changes in their 50 years on the
farm but only those in which they saw benefit.

A profile of the masters

Grandma and Grandpa Berger have lived in the same house for over 60 years
and have roots in the area for over two hundred years. They live on a
corner farm, where the roads bear their family names. Down the road at the
next cross section is another road with one of their family names. These
people are the definition of stable and unchanging.

Shortly after they were married in 1936 they moved to a former family
homestead. Some time later they bought a used tractor. Later in the
forties they bought another slightly larger used tractor to help with the
care for their pasture and farm land.

Today those two tractors are still the only ones on the farm and do all
the tractor work required. Grandpa never saw fit to buy a new tractor or
even one with, what has become nearly standard, the three point hitch.
This is the progressive side of the family Grandpa's brother still uses
horses not tractors. Sixty years of profit means he was making at least
decent business decisions.

The barn holds modern stainless steel automatic milking a cooling
equipment They use it instead of well water for cooling, seems it saved
more milk from spoiling and their dairy customers insisted on it.
Automated milkers are cleaner and help keep from exposing milk to

Years ago they started using wall mounted crank phones. Eventually they
switched from the crank model to the dial and enthusiastically bought into
the new system that meant only two parties on each line instead of 8 or
10. It meant a little more privacy, a valuable thing in a small town.

Anyway it was against this background of no change that caused my wife to
think long and hard about giving Grandma, who was 86, a portable push
button phone. It would probably be a waste of money and would not be used
just like the video cassette player sits idle.

But to our surprise it took only hours for Grandma to decide this was a
device worth the effort to change habits. She found the freedom to walk
and talk in the kitchen without fighting the cord, very convenient. And it
is even nicer to be able to skip the scurry to the kitchen when the phone
rings. The run was even harder before her second steel hip joint was

Grandma didn't use the video player for the movies we thought she would
enjoy. When someone else put them in she might watch but never paid
attention to it. One day we left a video of her newest great
granddaughter. Ya' know she learned to use that thing in less than a day.

Grandpa and Grandma started driving when cars had three pedals with the
ignition advance and throttle control on the steering column. Now they
have automatic transmission and adaptive brakes. They adopted thousands of
changes and new ideas during their century including electricity, TV,
radios and more. Although were thoughtful and selective with change
accepting only those with perceived benefit.

A question heard over and over, "Why is it so hard to change people in my
organization?" The answer is in Grandma and Grandpa. They changed quite
readily even late in life when the perceived that the benefit of change
was more than the pain of not changing. That was the case with the phone,
the video, the milking equipment and even the tractors.

So when you find your self questioning, "why do they resist change", look
to the leadership methods for and answer. People change quite readily when
they understand the benefit of making the sacrifice to learn new ways. But
they must believe the goal is worthy of the effort. Making sure they
understand and accept the goal is the leader's job. Help people understand
why this change is good. If it is not clear and accepted then no change
will occur or what is often called resistance to change.

Eugene Taurman


"Eugene Taurman" <>

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