Efficient don’t work for people.

Esther Derby commented on my Overcoming Resistance entry with an excellent list of reasons why people may appear to be resisting. Thank you, Esther!

She also said

Unfortunately, I hear many people–even those who hope to influence others to change–label people who are “resisting” as clueless, stupid, or selfish. Some would-be change agents attack the motives of the people who aren’t following their ideas, accusing them of wanting to bring the company down.

This may make the so-called change agent feel superior, as he/she belittles people who don’t get his/her wonderful ideas. But it doesn’t help him/her bring about change.

Well, it may make the so-called change agent feel superior, but I’d bet that it’s really an ego defense against feeling frustrated and helpless. Ineffective change agents need love, too.

“Hi, I’m George and I’m a so-called change agent.”

Yes, I’ve felt frustrated and helpless and said things that undermined my ability to change the situation. I’ve meant them, too. Or, thought I did.

If I’ve said them to you, or about you, I apologize. And I’m working very hard to learn not to say them, or even think them. Because, except for the phrase about the so-called change agent feeling superior, Esther is absolutely right.

You see, I’m an impatient geek. I’ve been one for as far back as I can remember. And if I understand something a little sooner than someone else, I can’t figure out what’s taking them so long. I’m a nice guy, though, so I want to help. And being an impatient geek, I want to teach it to them efficiently.

Why am I telling you this? Because you may recognize in yourself the truth of what I say. And if you do, I’d like to offer an observation. Efficient don’t work for people. Go for effective, instead.

You can enable change, but you can’t push it. You can help it along, but you can’t make it go faster than it’s going to go. Patience is more than a virtue; it’s a necessity.

So if you see me making negative comments about people resisting change, help me out. Tell me I’m back-sliding. Tell me to get back on the wagon. Tell me I’m just a so-called change agent. And thanks for your help and support.

And if you recognize yourself in my description, cheer up. If I can do better (and I am), surely you can, too. And there are good people like Esther who can help.

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