The Tyranny of Satisfaction

I was invited to contribute a blog post to this fascinating series on Surviving Work over on the LSE Business Review.  I wrote a short […]

Creativity is a problem

…however much an organization officially celebrates out-of-box thinking, people are going to associate leadership and creativity the way they associate fish and bicycles. So being […]

The art of listening

I heard the two men talking about a third old man who had recently died. One of them said, “I was visiting him at his […]

Periphery and Centre

I’m looking forward to hosting the European Regional Meeting of the ISPSO at the Irish Writers Centre in Dublin this week.  We will have 40 […]

Dare to disagree?

I keep returning to Margaret Heffernan’s TED talk on constructive and creative conflict.  Her invitation (one with which I agree) is to consider conflict a […]

The real price of perks at work

The second part of my conversation with Charlie Taylor at the Irish Times focussed on perks at work.  Are free sandwiches, gym membership etc enough […]


It’s always nice to get positive feedback.  A bottle of champagne is terrific…perhaps a card or two? But what about when a student tells you that you have successfully dismantled his entire understanding of people management in a two hour class on Managing Change  Well that’s delicious feedback.  Why? Because the class in question was about resistance and the role resistance plays in managing change (or, not managing change as the case may be).  My position on resistance has always been that resistant people aren’t always ‘problematic’ or ‘blocks’ to improvement/progress.  Very often they are protecting something very important.  The example I used in this class was this:


What happens if your company is downsizing and you have been told that your job is safe but, you have to relocate to a different office.  This means an additional 100 mile round trip every day.  Should you feel grateful? relieved? what if you don’t? what if you feel resistant to this change in your working conditions?  Very often the response of (some) students is critical.  Many suggest that the worker should be grateful that there is a job at all….but what if the gratitude is lost somewhere in the middle of this worker’s realisation that an additional 100 mile round trip means s/he can’t put their child to bed any more….and won’t be there to see their child in the morning.  Is that worth defending? Invariably the answer is ‘yes’….so in thinking about resistance we also need to think about what the ‘resistant’ person is trying to protect.  If we can think about that then we have some common ground on which to build a different kind of understanding.


So, when a student tells me that I’ve switched a lightbulb on….that makes me very, very happy!

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