Beyond the Wall of Resistance Excerpt

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This excerpt shows frustrated managers how to transform the power of resistance into a positive force and help you see ways to create your own change management tools.

On February 1, 2003, the Shuttle Columbia burned and was destroyed on reentry into the Earth's atmosphere. An independent commission was appointed to examine the cause of the accident and make recommendations. They wrote that they "intended to put this accident into context." The report went onto say, "We considered it unlikely that the accident was a random event; rather it was likely related in some degree to NASA's budgets, history and program culture, as well as the politics, compromises, and changing priorities of the democratic process. We are convinced that the management practices overseeing the Space Shuttle Program were as much a cause of the accident as the foam that struck the left wing."

If we are looking for one thing—say the technical reasons why an accident occurred—we will limit what we see and risk missing something equally or more important. By forcing ourselves to look more broadly and ask, "What else could it be?" we expand the frame and allow for a broader and even deeper understanding of the problem or problems.

When the world economic crisis hit in 2008, we—the press and the public—looked for who was responsible for this meltdown. We had to have a villain. And there were villains, but by solely focusing on the cheats and crooks, it distracted us from looking at the underlying causes of the crisis. Complexity came later. Context matters.

This excerpt comes from Chapter 5 ("Context Matters") of Rick Maurer's Beyond the Wall of Resistance: Why 70% of Changes Fail — and What You Can Do About It (Bard Press, 2010). This book shows frustrated managers at all levels how to transform the power of resistance into a positive force. The book includes tools for managing organizational change and will help you see ways to create your own change management tools.

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Maurer & Associates works with leaders who want to lead change without migraines. It provides the expertise to help you identify even deeply hidden resistance, overcome it rapidly, and implement the most difficult strategic and tactical changes. If leaders understand resistance, they can often avoid it before it occurs – or get things back on track when a change is about to derail. Maurer & Associates works closely with clients to develop and adapt change management strategies that will work in their unique culture. Clients have included Lockheed Martin, Deloitte & Touche, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AOL, National GeoSpatial Intelligence, Rohm & Haas, Syngenta, Charles Schwab, Verizon, National Education Association, The Washington Post, NASA, Tulane University Hospital, Kaiser Permanente and many government agencies.

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