Resistance to Change


This week’s #EdChatME (Oct 3, 2016) tackled an issue that every educator (either teacher or administrator) has faced many times, and will face again: Resistance to Change.

Change is hard.  We know this.  But change is also a constant in life.  And this constant can either be fought against, or accepted.

Right?  Or is that too simplistic of an ideology?

This week’s chat was based on the model of Resistance to Change developed by Rick Maurer.  Rick is a consultant who has worked with organizations “including Lockheed Martin, Sandia Labs, Deloitte & Touche, National GeoSpatial Intelligence Agency, Rohm & Haas (Dow Chemical), Verizon, Syngenta, Charles Schwab, National Education Association, The Washington Post,. NASA, Urban Libraries Council, Tulane University Hospital, Kaiser Permanente, and many government agencies.” (  He also is a former educator (yay!).  Rick helps these organizations solve problems, tackle difficult situations, and get deep with why people resist change.  He has authored Beyond the Wall of Resistance and Why Don’t You Want What I Want?, all about resistance to change.

Rick’s model is simple in its design; yet that should not be interpreted that the work of change and resistance to it is easy… far from it.  Resisitance to Change is highly complex, individualized, personal, and emotional.  So with that, I give you a very very very loose interpretation of Rick’s model for Resistance to Change:

  1. I Don’t Get It
    1. Information-based.
    2. “You’re talking, but I’m not understanding what you’re saying.”
    3. Doesn’t mean action happens once they “get it”
  2. I Don’t Like It
    1. Emotional reaction to change
    2. Can often be based on fear
      1. “Survival mode” kicks in
    3. The users “get it,” but their not “buying it”
    4. To what extent are the users interested & willing in learning more, or are they  indifferent & grumbling about it?
  3. I Don’t Like You
    1. “I get it; I buy it; I’m in… but only if you’re not in too.”
    2. History, memory, and perspective can be a major factor here
    3. Don’t assume it’s personal; it might be what you represent
    4. Show me and engage me; don’t just tell me.
    5. Trust is a major factor at this level, and can either work for or against you.

I sincerely hope Rick forgives my loose interpretation and potential butchering of his amazing model…

So, keeping in mind our #NEXTSTEPS work in bringing the chat to life and beyond 140 characters, what can we do about this?  How might we identify when we are dealing with resistance, and appropriately/effectively design opportunities and environments to improve that resistance?

Step One: Watch the opening video on The Energy Bar


Step Two: Think about the environment you are meeting resistance to change in, and complete the survey immediately following the video in Step One.

Step Three: Check out the awesome resources and tools that are available.

I also had the extreme pleasure of spending about 45 minutes talking with Rick about his model, his ideas, and diving deeper into Resistance to Change.  See the conversation here: screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-10-26-10-am

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