The Application Test: Cooperation vs. Application

To successfully change other people, and especially people who do not want to change, requires overcoming many traps, one of which is overcoming the power that habits and years of repetition have on people.

We are all creatures of habit. Studies show that people resist changing and making needed adjustments even when their health depends on it. Over the years, we have run into a wide variety of responses to change. The most common of which, and the way we address them, will be included in our book: The Art and Science of Changing People Who Do Not Want to Change.

By our definition, habits can sometimes make even the most willing and cooperative team fit into this category of people who do not want to change. We sometimes think of people who don’t want to change as people who passively or actively resist change. Sometimes people will be more than happy to invest time and energy in order to adjust and achieve goals. They will talk openly about what needs to change, and will cooperate with discussions around growth and changes, but their efforts will fall short of actually applying the required changes.

In our experience, there is only one definition for people who do want to change: those who continuously apply the change. Cooperation alone does not qualify a team as a team that wants to change.

Sometimes it is very clear to see that it is people who do not want to change who are blocking your organization from optimizing productivity and accessing its full potential.  In other cases the link from not being able to achieve your goals to people who do not want to change is more subtle or even invisible.

Of course, not every objection means the people objecting should be considered people who do not want to change. Sometimes people resist adopting a new system or a new solution because they believe that solution is flawed in some way. They are truly objecting for objective reasons with nothing but the best interests of the business in mind. In those cases it is actually important to listen to and redesign the solution rather than trying to force a flawed solution. When that is the case, it is typically other people in the organization, typically in leadership positions, who are not listening and need to change.

We are all blind to some degree. Many times people who do not want to change cannot see needed changes, hence are sure they are right. In most complex business situations, if the team is equipped with the right tools, the team itself can reach the right decision by exploring and effectively examining different perspectives within the organization.

People who do not want to change are often blind to areas that are blocking the organization from optimizing productivity in the present, but it is as common to see people who do not want to change blocking the organization from accessing its full potential in the future.

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