Resistance to change myth or true

Joan Díaz
3 min readNov 9, 2017

This week reviewing a little exercise with my peers at Happy Melly community I started a great conversation with Marjan Venema (you can read more about it at this link) about resistance to change, I though I was the only one to think like that but it seems like it’s not.


Talking about resistance to change it brings me back when I was a basketball coach. I remember conversations with others coaches which were always very annoyed with players because (as they said) they were lazy and stupid. I never be agree with them and I couldn’t understand this kind of affirmation because I also was on the other side and I don’t remember being stupid and lazy. Talking with them I realized that these coaches belive players were lazy and stupid because they weren’t doing what he/she said they must do. So… Did the players know why they must do what you want? I mean, have you ever explained to them why they must do what you are mandating? And even more important, did they know how important are these orders for the sake of the team? No… Usually no, they never explained that because is supposed that players must obey what coaches says (gulp…). Hence, if you are too lazy to explain them why they should play as you want and also treat them as stupid doing things as a donkey, what are you waiting for? Without theses information is fair to think that players don’t feel engaged to the cause.

Is it really resistance?

I feel a similar situation when somebody (usually a person with power: a boss or a manager) tries to introduce a “change” into the company. People don’t feel engaged with this particular change and then: “you know, people have resistance to change”. Taking into account what I said before: have you ever explained why this change is important for them? What sense have this for them? Is really important for them or is only for your own? As Marjan Venema said to me: “If you feel someone is resisting change, you haven’t stated your case in a way that makes sense to them“, I couldn’t be more agree with this. Maybe is a bit demagogic or extreme example but have you ever tried to introduce a very big change as to double the salary to anyone? And they said no because this was a very big change? Surely no…

Change, change and change

I think we should stop changing people, if there is something we don’t like, first of all we should begin changing the system (as Deming said “A Bad System Will Beat a Good Person Every Time“). However, I think changes are important but seeing them as a way to evolve (“evolution is smarter than you are” — John Kay at Obliquity).. If we want to move on we should foster changes but not as an order, building a secure environment with a continuous improvement mind-set, empowering people to introduce improvements or new tool for the sake of both team and company health, experimenting, learning and changing every time.



Joan Díaz

Agile, Lean, company culture, new ways of management or self-management enthusiast.