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Understand Why People Are Resisting Your Solutions

Melvyn Tan
Melvyn Tan
2 min read
Understand Why People Are Resisting Your Solutions

If you offer any kind of solution, whether it’s an online course, a training program, or consulting, you’re in effect introducing change.

And with change, there is always that element of resistance.

Resistance to change can be categorized into these three broad areas.

Internal. These are reasons one have internally that become impediments to embracing the change. Some internal reasons include assumptions and beliefs, competencies, and ego.

External. External reasons typically centered around budget, time, resources, as well as the ripple effect the change have on the organization.

Intimate. The third category, which is often less discussed are the intimate reasons. This includes opinions of spouses, parents, children, close friends. This can also include partners in business, shareholders, and the like.

Internal reasons are the strongest

Internal reasons are, for the most part, strongest.

Three years ago, I was a huge proponent of online learning.

I met with hundreds of trainers, coaches, and consultants with the aim to encourage them to convert what they know into online courses.

The benefits, I told them, include:

  • Allowing people to attend their training without their physical presence
  • Impacting more people than they could do otherwise
  • Earning an income even while they slept

These, I thought, were the key benefits that this group of individuals want.

However, that was not the case.

There were many objectives. But they largely are variations of the following:

  • My clients prefer face-to-face interactions
  • My online courses could be pirated
  • I have years of experience facilitating offline and if I chose to, I can do so online easily

Whether those reasons are accurate, that’s for another discussion.

The real reason why they have resisted my solution was because:

  • Their assumptions and beliefs were challenged,
  • They thought they have the skills to do so, where in fact they don’t.

Had I took these into account, I could have been a really popular guy right now.

Constructivism could offer a clue

Before you share your solution, arguably it’s a new concept, take into account the prior knowledge your audience may have.

According to John Dewey (1859 – 1952), a philosopher, psychologist, and educator, all knowledge are considered to be socially constructed.

What we learn and how we make meaning of our learning is largely affected by the environment we grow up in, the education we get, and the experiences we encounter.

Therefore, by having a deep understanding of your audience prior knowledge will allow you to present your solution in a way that does not contradict their beliefs nor does it challenge their assumptions.

And when you are able to dismantle their resistance at the start, you’re more likely to be on your way to convincing them in the end.

Melvyn Tan

Despite living the good life at midlife, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. My aim here is to reinvent midlife, learn new skills, and understand how the world works post-COVID.