Resistance

You know you’re onto something when you start encountering resistance.  But like stubbing your toe in the dark, after the swearing, the first question is, “What is that?”

If what you’re doing is going against the grain of  “how we do things here,” you’re challenging the corporate culture.  That stony thing in the dark is, in fact, the way the organization makes decisions, or the way it takes up and digests new initiatives, or some other norm that had not come to light yet.  If it’s culture, you need to recognize that it’s a firm object.  No matter how wacky it appears to your newcomer’s eyes, you won’t change it quickly.  You may not change it at all.

Even after a year with the organization, I’m new.  Most of my colleagues have been around for a number of years.  That means that I have to prove that anything that may take the place of today’s solution is better than what’s gone before.  If colleagues are succeeding, by their own measure, and their people and their unit are succeeding, what’s in it for them?  That’s a fair challenge to the new guy anywhere:  “Prove it.  I’ve seen well-intentioned guys like you flame out here before.”  They don’t wish you ill.  They may not even notice that they’re challenging you, because that would mean that they consciously notice that change is afoot.  No, they’re just living by the norms that produce the behavior that you feel as resistance.  What they feel is, “This is normal.”

If I were my boss, I’d say I haven’t asked enough strategic questions during data collection and content development.  “What would it mean for you if people consistently applied this policy, completed this procedure without errors, sought your advice before setting up an account this way?”

But I’m betting that my colleagues antenna tell them that there’s more work for them in what I’m doing.  That, specifically, it’s work that is different.  People can sense, before you’ve said it explicitly, that this is not a one-time thing.  It means taking some responsibility, even indefinitely, assuming your work is training and that the program will go on indefinitely.  If they don’t recognize that you’re giving them a megaphone to deliver a solution to the organization, that’s a lot to ask.  Without a better picture of the way you expect to steadily change learners behavior, they’ve got every reason to unconsciously think, “Prove it.”

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