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Managing Change Initiatives

Convert Resisters to Champions

A key success factor in managing change initiatives is to convert resisters to champions. You can’t convert everyone – some will just continue to resist until eventually they decide to leave the organization. But you can create a number of them. Those you convert will eventually get a number of others to come along and support change. In order to convert resisters to champions, you need to first understand why they are resisting.

Some common reasons, but certainly not an all-inclusive list, for resisting change include:

  • Fear of the unknown/perceived negative personal impact from the change
  • Too much else going on
  • Lack of understanding of the change and its value to the individual


  • Insufficient knowledge about how to be involved in the change
  • Insufficient tools and technology to implement the change
  • Past experiences with change initiatives

When we understand why our stakeholders are resisting change, we can better address their concerns and convert them to champions.

Consider the following ways to develop an understanding of why individuals in the organization are resisting change:

  • Department meetings
  • Small group gatherings over coffee
  • One-on-one conversations
  • Casual, informal conversations with stakeholders throughout the day
  • Surveys

By using a variety of ways to communicate with the stakeholders about the change initiative, you can begin to learn what concerns them that impacts their ability to support the project.

Over the next week, we’ll share a few case studies of clients where we focused on converting resisters to champions and some of the approaches we took to do so.

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