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ITSM Help: Dealing with Passive Resistance

01/20/2012 by: The SunView Team


In 2012 IT organizations won't see any less change than they have in the past. As projects from 2011 spill over - by choice or not, and new projects get underway or begin discussions, there is a common obstacle most will encounter - resistance. While many forms of resistance are easy to identify, and much harder to overcome, one form - the passive sort - can often be addressed through increased communication, and an empathetic approach to including your managers input with regard to decisions.

In a recent article from the Harvard Business Review, Ron Ashkenas addresses the topic of passive resistance, and offers a number of suggestions to work towards turning passiveness into active acceptance - essentially, ways to make those that may work to undermine leadership goals and turn them into champions for the cause.

50 Questions for Building ITSM Requirements

With three simple steps, the first is perhaps the hardest. That is, making sure you are onboard with the leadership goals you may have put forth. While Mr. Ashkenas is speaking to a CIO audience, this can work for anyone leading a project, including those that will be working to improve the processes and tools used in an IT Service Management improvement or establishment initiative. The key is to help those working with you to understand that resistance isn't futile. Instead, make it clear that you understand resistance to change is natural and an important part of the process.

Once you have a more open format for discussion, the next two suggestions - determining the reason behind resistance, as well as capitalizing on those with a readiness to move forward should be easier. Again, the goal here is to turn passive resistance that might more than likely happen outside of your watch into an active dialog. Ultimately, the initiatives may need to go forward, even with resistance of any kind. However, if you have paid close attention to your interactions with the team(s), you will have also found champions among the dissenters. If not, it might be cause for rethinking the change you are putting forward.

Be sure to read the rest of the article, as well as write us with any suggestions you have for dealing with resistance - passive or not.