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Q. I manage a division in our company and am having trouble getting employees to make changes that are essential to sustainability. For the most part everyone says they are on board, but they continue to do their work the same old ways. What can I do?

A.  The first step is to identify where your employees’ resistance is.  Have they bought into the new workplace philosophies? Do they have the skills that change requires? When we are in a state of resistance, we are not flexible, fluid, or fully present. We begin to fear error. We hold back. We think we will look foolish, feel embarrassed, be laughed at, and so we immediately go into resistance. It’s a strategy of protection. But the more we use that strategy, the less we will grow and develop new actions. We literally stop growing and evolving. When we are faced with doing something that threatens our comfortable sense of self, our reactive mind deploys a strategy of resistance. It’s a simplistic defense, a mind-strategy that obstructs us from learning by experience. When I conduct management workshops, I frequently instruct participants to try out new supervisory methods through practice and interactive exercises. If the participant says, “I can’t do that,” or “I don’t know how to do that,” I will say, “I know. Just play it. It’s okay not being able to do it. Just play it.” Virtually every time the participant says, “Well, okay” and does it. Play it. The words are simple, but being willing to step into the unknown without “knowing how” is hardly ever easy. To bring your employees into a new way of working requires that they have a new way of thinking. Recognize the points of resistance and create an environment that assures employees that fears dancing along with their desires to succeed are natural parts of the learning process. Create an environment that supports mistakes as opportunities to learn new skills and get different results. Invite your employees to play it as if they know how to do it. You’ll be surprised by what you get.                                       

“Finally. An uplifting and imminently useful guide to surviving and thriving through disagreement and discord. John Hoover’s ability to create simple, practical tools for use in difficult and challenging situations is reflected in his latest work, The Uniting Power of Conflict.

“John’s straightforward
and powerful methods have something for you.
When the inevitable differences in life show up, all you have to do is relax and play ball!”

Why baseball? It’s simple, endlessly flexible, and miraculously effective. >>