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Overcoming Resistance: Effective Strategies for Dealing with Intransigence in Change Management

I am struggling with a project right now. I have been asked by a company to help improve its profitability. There is an array of frameworks that can help. These can address pricing strategies, the reduction of costs, the increase in sales or a combination. I am familiar with the frameworks but at the moment they are of no use.

The starting point of any project is research. We have to understand everything about the situation. A good SWOT will provide insights on the strengths and weaknesses of the internal mechanisms within the company as well as the existential threats and opportunities. Using the SWOT framework I identified the source of the problem – the management. The very people who commissioned me are the barriers to growth and profitability. It is a well established company but things have changed. In particular, the managers have grown older and are set in their ways. They haven't adjusted to the changing world. There has not been any development of second-tier management that can take over and there is a reluctance to recruit new blood.

Larry Greiner's growth model is partly relevant for positioning the company though it doesn't quite fit into one of his six phases. In any case, the solution to the problem is a change in the management. Here I am facing the equivalent of someone who drinks too much but won't accept that they have a problem.

The people who run the company are steeped in the business. They have worked in it all their lives. Unfortunately, they don’t know what to do and they are finding it difficult to accept that they are the problem.

This isn't unusual. Readers of this blog may well have faced similar problems in their own organisations. What to do? My project is current and ongoing and so although I have a plan, it is too early to say it will work. The key to all successful outcomes using frameworks is that people believe in them. The people who will execute the plan have yet to be convinced. I shall let you know the outcome. Wish me luck.


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