How to stay motivated when change resistance is high

Some days are brighter than others when you are responsible for leading a change or managing a change. Every day is not a bed of roses, easy to get plans approved, sponsors on board, time with leaders. Some projects are easier than others. There are those where you might score a fantastic sponsor who works with you, listens and you collaborate on how to transform a department or organisation. Then there are those which are hard, and resistance is high. 

Some of the better ones that change managers LIKE to work on, (as resistance will often be low to non-existent):

  • New incentive programs where staff are offered more.
  • Creative culture design programs where you work with organisations to design the culture they want and you play a role in bringing it to life.
  • New products or processes that really see a tangible benefit to customers and allow for upskilling teams as well.

And then there are the changes that are not so exciting where resistance is high, however they are changes...

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What is the difference between Change communications and every day communications?

There is a big difference between standard organisational communications to employees and information based communications to customers, and change communications. Without understanding the difference, your change may fall flat, if the only way you communicate is through the standard communications channels and using the same methods as business as usual communications.  Think for a moment about the rise of social media, storytelling, music and engaging clips vs a standard newsletter email in your inbox. The two are chalk and cheese. One is informative, the other is engaging. And the interactive approach that social media has introduced, has made it harder for internal communications teams and change comms delivery people to get cut through.

With organisations constantly undergoing change, there seems to be a need for the worlds to meet a little more, with enhancements in the internal communications methods being used, with many internal communications managers and team members...

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What makes change complex and how to reduce it

It's a commonly used term, 'complexity'. In most organisations, it's how the stakeholders will describe the change or their organisation. Now I am not going to dismiss that off hand but let's go through what will make a change complex, and keeping in mind that we should define complexity as high risk. The more complex the higher risk there is that the change just won't stick!

Here are some scenarios where the change may be complex and more importantly what to do to reduce the complexity:

1. There are multiple streams of work taking place which haven't been aligned or streamlined into a cohesive story. The aspect that creates complexity here is a lack of understanding about the program itself. This generates confusion which for many is a safe place to land when they feel overwhelmed. If you want to reduce the complexity, unpack the streams to understand the relationship and dependencies so then it can be 'rebuilt' into a cohesive program. 

2. Geographic distance: The...

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The crossroads of Culture and Change Management

Change Management and the interventions used, and the strategic approach taken is most effective when it is working with the strengths of the organisation's culture. When it comes to transformation programs, the scope may be to affect the culture itself or as things change it may result in a cultural change which was unforeseen. Consider the digital transformations which have taken organisations beyond their cultural comfort zones and what they have needed to revisit as a result.  The Information Age has meant that many organisations now have values that reflect the continuous improvement curve that is needed to be embodied to keep up with the digital changes needed to survive.

But what is culture?

Culture plays a key role in shaping organisations, influencing their values, norms, and behaviours. It encompasses the shared beliefs, attitudes, customs, and practices that guide individuals within a workplace. Understanding the various elements of culture in organisations...

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Season 1- Episode 9- What does it take to be a great change practitioner?

In my latest episode of Next Level Change success, I share my thoughts on what it takes to be a great change practitioner. And it isn't probably what you are thinking. 

If you are a change practitioner, have a listen and see whether you agree. if you are hiring change managers, or you are a people leader of Change practitioners, then listen to this podcast to get some ideas on what you may be looking for.

2.09 We cover the three areas to consider.

2.50 Self-awareness and the life long journey in your career.

3:47 How self development added value to my role in identifying behaviours.

4:37 Perfection is an illusion and everyone has different reactions to change.

5:03 The importance of boundary setting and how it empowers people through change.

7:01 Diffusing situations, managing conflict, listening and building trust.The ability to handle stressful situations and self-regulate comes from working on yourself.

8.18 It helps if your purpose lines up with what you do.


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What is the right resource model for your Change?

Over the many years of working in this field, in both change and project management, the resourcing required for programs is often an area of debate. When heading up a Change Practice, getting the blend of expertise as well as the right time to introduce a Change Manager into a program was also key. Unfortunately it became apparent that if you introduced a Change Manager into a program too early, it created tension if the program didn't have a business case or foundation on which to base the change.

But there are a number of factors to consider when looking at resourcing.

The size of the change. Size does matter in this case. The greater the impact, and depending on the existing resources to support the change internally, you will need adequate resource. The resource isn't there just to produce documents such as the change plan, impacts assessments etc. Change resource on major programs is the People change conductor as such. They are there to orchestrate and integrate the...

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Next Level Change Success - #3 -Season 1 - NAIDOC week - Lessons from Ancient Cultures

In this episode we talk about NAIDOC week and Therese shares the 3 key lessons she has learned through years of travel and then working with First Nations people that relate to Change Management. These lessons are: Listening, The Approach and Ritual.





1.55 Get up! Stand up! Show up! NAIDOC 2022 . While we have made progress there is a LONG way to go.

4.02 Art of listening. What 'listening' means in the context of projects.

5.40 Change resistance and the challenge to listen more earnestly

8:00 Lesson 2: How you approach change will determine it's success

11:00 Lesson 3: The importance of ritual. How do you integrate ritual into your organisation?

14.06 It is even more important to acknowledge First Nations People.


References and Resources


Welcome to Country

Local Aboriginal Land Councils

Download the Diamond of Program Change Effectiveness


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The top challenges we are facing in 2022 if you are managing change in organisations

The rollercoaster that we find ourselves on for managing change in organisations continues in 2022. While the twists and turns may now be anticipated, the drops may still leave you and everyone else a little queasy. There are a number of trends that have been discussed recently in the recent Change Management Institute Global Insights Next-Gen Change Management webinar, which was attended by practitioners all over the world, myself included. In addition to this, the recent Neuroleadership Institute conference covered trends and challenges facing organisations this year. Following are some of the themes that all organisations and change leaders should consider with a sense of curiosity.

So what will be the challenges in 2022 for managing change?

Embracing new ways of working and introducing hybrid ways of working in the workplace are key. For some organisations flexible ways of working were just 'the way it is' and that meant achieving a competitive advantage immediately and a...

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Looking to get into Change Management? Here's how..

Many times I have been asked - 'So Therese, how do I get into Change Management?' 'What course should I do?', 'What experience do I need?.' Well in such a competitive and also in demand market like we have now, employers are looking not just externally for Change Managers but more and more are looking at a number of strategies to build change capability in their organisation. That being said, there is no better time to get into Change and here are a number of things for you to consider and paths you can take to managing change in organisations. 

Pathway 1: Complimentary experience and basic skills. There are many 'feeder' jobs that are on the pathway to Change Management. Human Resources, Learning/Training, Project Management, Senior Business Analysis. Yes, all of these are typical pathway disciplines, with many Change Managers having these backgrounds on their resumes. For me, I started in Marketing and Communications. I have experience in Customer experience as...

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There is nothing 'warm and fuzzy' about Change Management

The tone when people comment about the disciplines of Change and Communications 'warm and fuzzy' is certainly one where they are being judged as a necessary evil rather than a value add skillset.  Sure, at times this can be how good change makes you feel, but it is not the appropriate catch phrase to describe the function itself.

Another classic term used is that Change is part of the 'soft' skill set. If achieving outcomes is about the 'soft skills' in business then Finance and Sales should also be categorised as 'soft' as well. The only reason Change Management exists is to achieve business outcomes in a shorter timeframe through engaging the people who are impacted in owning that change. In fact depending on the type of change there may be nothing warm about it at all. 

The benefits of introducing change management and change leadership capability in an organisation are extremely tangible.

The reason you invest in change management is because it decreases the time from...

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