We’ve all been there. We make a suggestion that we’re certain will make things better. Instead of being greeted with support or acceptance we’re met with waffling, or worse yet, resistance. Whether it’s stated or not, the message is clear – “Please move on to other issues.” Frequently it sounds something like this, “Thank you for your suggestion. We’ll take it under consideration. “
I recently attended an IEP meeting where I was invited to review a student’s progress towards transportation independence. This junior high student with special needs was to be learning “stranger danger” so that she would be able to travel to the neighborhood bus stop safely. Eventually, the goal was that she would be capable of getting to school as her non-disabled peers do. This student was very “high-functioning” and just needed to learn some safety habits. It would not have been unreasonable to expect her to not require special education transportation at all by her sophomore year in high school. Read the rest of this entry
I did it again. I said the words “If I can help. . .” without thinking through the implications. This time, I was offering to babysit a neighbor’s children. When I said it two weeks ago to a brand new acquaintance, she emailed me within days to ask if I could take her to a doctor’s appointment (I couldn’t, and I didn’t). I told a fellow member of a social organization to which I belong to “call me if you need anything,” despite the fact that I’m truly booked out through Thanksgiving. My frequent offers to help – well-intended though misguided – are symptomatic of my tendency to overcommit. I genuinely wish I could be “there” for everyone. Maybe it takes guts I’ve not yet developed to refrain from offering more than I can give. Read the rest of this entry
I have taught many workshop and conference sessions about facilitating change in organizations. In these classes we spend a great deal of time talking about why you need to be a change agent and how to go about succeeding in bringing about change. We review specific strategies for overcoming resistance to change. In fact, I was hired into my current job primarily because of my “expertise” in this particular area of management.
I’ve been working with several people on a project which promises to improve our transportation service for students with special needs. In addition to being right for kids, this new way to think about where students should be picked up and discharged is also right for budgets, and the communities in which these students live. I expected resistance because change is usually difficult and creating large scale change is even more challenging. Woodrow Wilson famously said “If you want to make an enemy, change something.” I know this, so I expected – and prepared for – resistance. Usually the opposition shows up as some variation of intentional misunderstanding, rumor generating, questioning the ability to achieve the promised results, fearing extra work, or plain denial. : I anticipated – and I saw – instances of these and other tactics. What I was not prepared for were the nay-sayers who objected simply because the suggested changes were progressive. Read the rest of this entry