OVERCOMING RESISTANCE --- A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO PRODUCING CHANGE IN
THE WORKPLACE by Jerald M. Jellison. Simon & Schuster, 1993.
This book shows you how to spot forms of resistance and respond effectively with proven techniques for changing human behavior. It refutes the common assumption that "old dogs can't learn new tricks" with the assumption that an employee's behavior can radically change from one situation to another! In essence, an individual's behavior is completely malleable. It changes when the CONSEQUENCES in the present situation change!PART 1 --- TOOLS FOR CHANGE (15-146)
The approach of this book differs radically from the pessimistic traditonal psychological practices. It assumes that each person, rather than being locked into some stereotyped pattern, is RICHLY COMPLEX --- AND CAPABLE OF A WIDE REPERTOIRE OF ACTIONS!
Also, it assumes that you can TAP INTO THAT CAPACITY FOR CHANGE without sending the employee or team member to therapy or traumatizing him/her with excessive discipline.
This book shows you how to spot forms of resistance and respond effectively with proven techniques for changing human behavior.
Thus, managers in either large or small organizations can TRANSFORM counterproductive confrontations into satisfying results by identifying the roots of employee resistance and restating requests in a new, irresistible form.
Finally, the book explains HOW you can recognize the many forms of resistance, including arguing, name calling, changing the subject, ambiguous language, catatonia, getting emotional, excuses and promises.
The "Bamboo Technique" is described as the BEST WAY to escape the trap of irrelevant, time-wasting arguments and also to change any ambiguous reaction into a definite, action-oriented agreement!
1) A new look at people and change (p17-38)
PART 2 --- SIX SIMPLE STEPS FOR GETTING RESULTS (p147-234)
 Limits of popular psychology (p18-25)
2) Getting down to "ground-level" thinking (p39-59)
 Breaking through the boundaries of tradition --- Fundamental Assumption #1: (p25-35)
It's the REWARD SYSTEM in the workplace that dictates the level of performance, NOT an employee's personality or his or her past!
 A more optimistic approach (p35-38)
People can switch from top output to mediocrity according to the consequences of their actions. If someone resists your request for change, DON'T BLAME it on their attitude, their need for control, or their lack of confidence. ASK yourself HOW it might benefit this person to object to your request, and you will SEE that the people RESIST CHANGE when it PRODUCES MORE NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES --- MORE "WORK" (either more supervision, less advancement opportunity, etc.) --- than POSITIVE CONSEQUENCES!
But, when there are more perceived BENEFITS than COSTS, people welcome CHANGE! (p31)
 Using your leadership "altimeter" to begin thinking and talking about "ground level" specifics instead of stratoshpere generalities! (p42-47)3) Trade secrets (p60-82)
When dealing with people who have resisted change over and over again, the FIRST CRITICAL SKILL is to help them DEVELOP THE THE ABILITY to precisely state the EXACT ACTIONS you want performed! (p47)
 Defining your terms (p48-53)
The MANY LEADERSHIP TECHNIQUES AND TOOLS described later in this book depend on using specific "ground-level" definitions!
Good questions and bad questions (p50-53)
 Common problems in the workplace (p53-59)
DON'T ASK WHY an employee is NOT working up to expectations! That question puts you at the psychological level, talking in terms of his/her thoughts and feelings.
ASKING WHY usually only yields psychological dead-end answers such as he or she is selfish or narcissistic or a perfectionist!
This kind of questioning puts in at the level of personalities, thoughts and egos --- and does NOTHING to help you solve the work-related problem. Stay out of his/her past, and head. Focus only on the PRESENT time period and on WHAT YOU WANT THE PERSON TO DO OR STOP DOING!
Break free of a familiar pattern of generality or negativity by ASKING A NEW QUESTION such as HOW WOULD A TOP-PERFORMING EMPLOYEE ACT IN THIS SITUATION?
Use the "specific approach" of thinking about specific parts of the employee's job, or specific times and situations when his/her behavior CAUSES the most trouble. Now you might imagine that the bad work behavior is most counterproductive in a certain context. By focusing ONLY ON THIS CONTEXT, you can rephrase your basic question in terms of HOW YOU WANT him/her TO ACT IN THESE SPECIFIC CIRCUMSTANCES! (p50-51)
WRITE DOWN EXACTLY WHAT YOU MEAN AND WANT a subordinate or team member to do! (p51)
(1) As you develop your skill at defining work-related problems with a "ground-level" focus, you will become more effective more quickly in your thinking about or discussing solutions to work-related problems.
"REALITY" = What actions the employee is expected to perform described in concrete actions! (p54)
Six basic questions to help you CREATE EFFECTIVE "ground-level" definitions: (p53)
1. What do I want him/her to do?
2. How would he/she act if he/she were a top performer?
3. In what situations is this problem most troubling to me?
4. Exactly what actions do I want him/her to perform?
5. How, when, where, and with whom do I want him/her to do it?
6. How much, or how many times, do I want him/her to do it and by what time deadline?
(2) Procrastination (p54)
(3) No follow-through (p54-55)
(4) Insensitivity (p55-56)
(5) Chauvinism (p56)
(6) Unprofessional behavior (p56-57)
(7) Low productivity (p57)
(8) Lack of initiative (57-58)
(9) Resistance to change (p58-59)
Supervisors or team members should STATE THEIR REQUESTS IN TERMS OF SPECIFIC BEHAVIORS --- rather than ambiguous generalities --- in order to BLOCK RESISTERS from using some of their favorite escape routes!
When you talk in GENERALITIES, a "resister" can play dumb and act as though he/she does not know what you mean. Another option is for the resister to "misinterpret" what you meant, very likely in a way that he/she does not have to change. Or, the resister may publicly promise to go along with your request, but that is all he/she will do. Resisters know that your FAILURE to be SPECIFIC means you cannot legitimately blame him/her for failing to do exactly what you wanted!
Using "ground-level" language is the SINGLE BEST THING that you can do to improve your communications with others! WHEN PEOPLE KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU MEAN, THEY ARE MORE LIKELY TO DO IT!
4) The world's most persuasive communication (p83-100)
5) Your hidden motivational resources (p101-124)
6) A field guide to resistance tactics (p125-146)
7) Laying the groundwork (p149-161)
PART 3 --- YOUR ACTION PLAN (p211-234)
 STEP 1 --- SETTING THE CONTEXT (p150-156)
8) How to face resistance --- and win! (p162-187)
(1) Express sincere praise (p151-152)
 STEP 2 --- STATING YOUR REQUEST (p156-158)
(2) Reaffirm the relationship (p152-153)
(3) Keep your requests small (p153)
(4) Express confidence in agreement (p153-155)
(5) Be brief (p155-156)
(1) Don't give explanations (p157-158)
 STEP 3 --- EVALUATING THEIR RESPONSE (p159-161)
(2) Don't delve into the past (p158)
(3) Don't ask "why?" (p158)
The "GUIDE" in chapter six (pages 125-146) will help you determine whether the resister's response is reasonable or resistant! Also, if you keep a list of the resistance tactics commonly used by your different work associates, you will have another reference to help you make this "classification decision."
Usually when a subordinate or team member cites some extenuating circumstances for WHY he/she CANNOT go along with your request, it is NOTHING MORE THAN AN EXCUSE, and you can CIRCUMVENT ITwith the "Bamboo Technique" described in the next chapter.
Sometimes an employee or team member who always has an excuse comes up with a legitimate reason for why he/she cannot do as you ask. You need to carefully evaluate the plausibility of such statements, because sometimes they are reasonable. Only you, with your detailed knowledge of the situation, can make the judgment about the appropriateness of your request. In the same way, "arguments" also require careful analysis. When an employee or team member openly criticizes or disagrees with your request, you may be tempted to reject it as mere resistance. DON'T! LISTEN CAREFULLY AND SEE IF there is any validity to the points he/she is making.
If you determine that the subordinate or team member's statements about extenuating circumstance, or his arguments, are reasonable, then obviously you do not want to insist upon his/her compliance with your request. You would be making an exchange that is NOT IN YOUR SELF-INTEREST! You could be cutting yourself off from valuable feedback or new information. Instead of pursuing the change, ACKNOWLEDGE the VALIDITY of the employee's point, thank him/her for stating it, and either withdraw or modify your request.
 STEP 4 --- CIRCUMVENTING RESISTANCE TO CHANGE (p162-187)
9) The bottom line (p188-210)
(1) The "Bamboo" Technique --- The resilient bamboo plant provides a great model of HOW to react when confronted with resistance. when hit with the strong winds of a storm, it simply bends. Once the storm is over, the bamboo plant snaps back to its original position.
The GOAL is to GET AGREEMENT by the resister within the five-minute deadline announced at the beginning of negotiation! (p186-187)
So, FIRST, BEND! Bend by ACKNOWLEDGING your subordinant's or team member's response to your request for a change. THEN, SNAP BACK! Snap back by restating your request. It is that SIMPLE! BEND and SNAP BACK! (163-171]
This two-step technique is dramatically effective because it lets the resistance blow by, leaving your "change contingency" in place and unaltered!
Also, watch how the "Bamboo Tactic" counters "name-calling" and many other "resistance tactics." It helps CREATE CHANGE CALMLY.
1. Name-calling (p163-165)
(2) Postpone extended discussion (p172-178)
Use the "IF . . . , THEN . . . " technique
2. Emotional displays (p165-167)
3. Old dogs (p167-168)
4. Criticizing the method (p168)
5. Trivialization (p168-169)
6. Wordfare (p169-170)
7. Implementing the "Bamboo Technique" (p171)
(3) Agree to disagree (p178)
(4) Reinterpret their reaction (p179-184)
(5) Get a guarantee (p184-186)
(6) An ounce of prevention (p186-187)
 STEP 5 --- THE RESISTANCE CONTINGENCY (p189-198)
(1) Using the right language (p189-190)
 STEP 6 --- CLOSURE (p198-205)
(2) Carrots and sticks (p190-191)
(3) Maintain a calm, positive manner (p191-192)
(4) Planning for the "resistence contingency" (p193-194)
(5) What if they are still resisting? (p194-196)
(6) Enforcing the "resistance contingency" (p196-198)
(1) Restate the agreement (p198-199)
 POSTSCRIPT --- HANDLING THE MOST SERIOUS CASES (p206-210)
(2) Getting verbal acceptance (p199-201)
(3) Build for the future (p201-204)
(4) Living up to your promises (p204-205)
10) Making change happen (p213-234)
Exercises to help leaders BREAK LOOSE FROM BAD HABITS and incorporate change-producing tools and
techniques into daily employment interactions. Requirements include five file folders and paper and pencils!
 Analyzing people's actions (p214-216)
THE CAUSES OF BEHAVIOR --- WRITE THEM DOWN! (p215-216)
 Getting down to ground level (p216-218)
 Analyzing your relationships (p218-219)
 Identifying your resources (p220-223)
HANDLING DIFFICULT REQUESTS (p221-223)
 Determining the value of your resources (p223-225)
(1) Supply and demand (p224-225)
 The world's most persuasive communication --- The basic tool for PRODUCING CHANGE is the "IF-THEN" CONTINGENCY (p225-228)
(2) Timing (p225)
IF-THEN CONTINGENCY --- by specifying the action a supervisor or team member wants AND by being specific about the rewarding consequences in the "THEN" part of the contingency, an employee's behavior will change quickly! (p225-226)
 Identifying resistance (p228-230)
(MAKING TRADES (p227-228)
(1) Patterns (p229-230)
 Taking your first steps (p230-233)
(2) Reacting to resistance (p230)
(1) Bambooing (p232)
 Finale (p233-234)
(2) Rewarding yourself (p232-233)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR (p237)
Jerald Jellison is a professor of psychology at USC in Los Angeles , where he teaches and conducts research and is president of the USC Federal Credit Union, a multimillion-dollar business.