Changing Resistance into Cooperation

Thursday, October 10 2019

Imagine you are the leader of an organization facing change. Are you excited about the opportunities that change provides? Or, are you in fear and filled with uncertainty about the future?

If you are excited, you probably have some sense of your future destination and have begun to formulate a strategy to get there.  If you are fearful and uncertain, it may be because there is not clarity about the future or the necessary strategy, leaving you and your team adrift and apprehensive.  A well-defined strategic plan provides a roadmap for the future and replaces fear with excitement and possibility.

The stories, which the business media report about companies that have adopted new strategies to transform themselves, often centre on the personal power of a highly visible individual who guides the company to its new position. This makes a compelling read, but truly successful strategies, including the ones featured in the media are usually the product of a team effort.

Dr. Kit Silcox, author of the Milestones strategic planning system states:

Strategic [planning] is hard work. It is risky, requiring people to leave their comfort zone to make what are often irrevocable changes.  Strategic change takes intensive introspection; it requires all the wisdom of the leadership team in order to create a new corporate strategy.”[1]

When a new strategy is imposed from the top upon those in an organization, they tend to resist it, even if the strategic initiatives are good. Involving the leadership team and other key stakeholders in the process overcomes this natural resistance because involvement transfers ownership of the resulting strategy from the individual leader to the leadership team. Since they have wrestled together with their ideas, experience and wisdom to create the new strategy, they become united and invested in its success. The team members then also become positive ambassadors of the new strategic direction to others throughout the organization.

You can write an excellent strategic plan document by yourself, but it will be resisted and will likely fail to be implemented well.

Effective leaders make the investment of time and energy to involve key stakeholders in the strategic plan development. Involvement changes resistance into cooperation. It inspires commitment and empowers the team with purpose and direction. And the new plan will be a success.

[1] Slicox, Kit, Milestones 3.0, 2013 p. 1.4