Monday, October 15, 2012

FREEZE FRAME!!!!--- The Resistance Zoo

This is a bit of fun and a lot of serious. It is surprising how many animals you can spot in change. Using animals is an entertaining and useful metaphor that you can use in many situations to break the ice and tell home truths.

My zoo

Here are some of the animals in my zoo. I've met all of these along the way in the change work I've done.


The ostrich famously puts its head in the sand when faced with danger. Like a small child, they work on the principle that if they cannot see the predator then the predator cannot see them. This does not seem to be a very good survival strategy. Fortunately, the ostrich also has long legs and can run away very fast.


Moles are dark and difficult to see. They burrow underground and are hard to find. Then they pop up when you think everything has been completed and the change is complete. They make a horrible mess of things and are very destructive.


Tigers fight tooth and claw all the way. They are powerful -- or at least that is what they want you to believe. Hurt them only a little and they will seek to hurt you a whole lot more. Their message is this: mess with me at your peril. Go make your change elsewhere little person.


Dogs know that, although they are not bad fighters by themselves, they are far more powerful in a pack. They seek one another out and attack en masse. They are not fearless but know that together they create even more fear. They will fight dirty and nip at you until you are down and then rip you apart.


Owls are wise and knowledgeable people. They sit up on their branches in their tree, pontificating and pointing down at the trivial world below. The know better than you and are not slow to point this out, as well as pointing out all the little faults in your change project (which is, of course, somewhat below them).


Well, you knoow, those old snails, they just go soo slooww. They creep along at, well, a snail's pace and hope that you will leave them to their own devices. Ho hum. See you then.

Your zoo

You can use the zoo in a workshop or in conversations. Give a few examples and ask people what other animals they can find. Make a collection. Have fun spotting new ones out there in the world around you.

See also

The Nature of Support

Much analysis of people in change is focused on those who resist and oppose change. This is missing a significant trick: you can gain at least two benefits from analyzing the nature of the support you have.
  • You will better know how to use that support to make the change happen.
  • You may find how tentative that support is and know how to shore it up.

Understand their personality

Go look at the analysis factors for the nature of opposition. Many of these may be applied in a similar sense to understand the nature of support. You may also look at other preference factors to determine their tendencies.

Understand their commitment

Understand the decision process whereby they decided to support the change. If you understand what persuaded them, you will be better able to keep them persuaded. You may also be able to use the same approach with others.
  • Are they ready to be a Leadership or do they just want to Follow?
  • If they are following, what persuaded them? (your vision, persuasive skills, etc.)
  • If they want to lead, what opportunities do they see? (advancement, contribution, etc.)
  • What support are they ready to give? (One-to-one, public, use of authority, etc.)
  • How 'change ready' are they? (raring to go, tiptoeing forward, etc.)
Also consider the potential that they have for going the other way, and becoming opponents against the change. This can be a disastrous event as they may take other people with them.
  • What are their expectations? What's in it for them? What would they think if they did not get what they expect? What would they do?
  • What would cause them to become opponents of the change? How easily would they be tipped over into opposition?

Understand the impact of their support

Some people can have a far greater level of impact with the supportive actions that they can take. This may be due to their formal position and the direct authority they have. It may also be to their social position -- some people are strongly networked and have a surprising number of friends. You can thus ask:
  • What connection do they have to other people? What is their job history? What is their social position? Are they a strong networker?
  • How effective would their support be? Would they be able to convert others? How powerful would those others be in sustaining the change? How many others could they convert?



Teach people about the need for change and how embracing change is a far more effective life strategy than staying where they are or resisting.
Teach people the methods of change, about how to be logical and creative in improving processes and organizations.


A 3-day class is set up in process improvement in which people apply methods to a designed problem.
Coaches work with teams, supporting their process of change.


A gentler way of helping people see the need for change is via educative means. This includes presentations, communications and full-on training sessions.
Education, done well, is more of a process of elicitation, drawing out understanding from the other person rather than talking at them. The root of the word is the Latin duco, 'meaning to lead', and is the same as duke. Leading in change is itself often a process of education, and may be done in many situations.
An issue in change is that people often feel powerless. Education gives them the power to change.

Learning Theory

Explanations > Learning Theory

Learning is one of main ways that we change minds. By definition, learning is changing your mind.

So what?

So understand how people learn and teach them by the ways they prefer - not how you prefer to teach (which is probably also your preferred learning style).

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