Determine the Levels of Resistance

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

Determine the Levels of Resistance

This is a simple exercise you can use to see more clearly why people might be opposing you or your idea.


by Rick Maurer

I encourage you to use this quick assessment tool. It has had a startling impact on my clients. It only takes five minutes. It will help you identify the levels of resistance you face and see how the strategies you use may be inappropriate for the level facing you.

  1. As you look at each person on your list, imagine the world from his or her point of view and ask yourself, “Why might he or she resist my ideas or me in particular?” As you brainstorm responses, think about the following questions:
    1. If I were in their shoes, why might I be threatened by this change?
    2. Why would I resist the person initiating this change?
  2. Identify all the ways in which you have tried to deal with their resistance in the past, or how you anticipate you probably will handle any resistance.
  3. Once both lists are completed, underline all those responses that are Level 1. Using a dotted line, underline all those that are Level 2. With a wavy line, underline all the Level 3 responses.
  4. Look at what you’ve have. Most find that the strategies they use are Level 1, but the resistance they face is Level 2. If this is the case, then the Six Steps are going to be particularly important in showing you other alternative strategies to explore.

© 2009 Rick Maurer. Rick uses his Change without Migraine™ to advise organizations on how to lead change effectively. He is author of many books including Beyond the Wall of Resistance. Recently, he created the Change Management Open Source Project, a free resource for people interested in change in organizations.