The enemy, resistance

Its an obvious truth that people resist change. Systems resist change too. Resistance for the sake to resisting change is the enemy to individuals and to systems. We shut out possibilities and shut down creativity by resisting new perspectives and ideas. This leads to decreased justice. The image that comes to mind is a nearsighted rhinocerous barreling down a path and trampeling anyone and anything that got in its way just because something spooked it.

I found this list of resistance mechanisms by Ken Cloke and reprinted at Settle it Now Negotiation Blog to be very insightful:

1) Marginalization: Making ideas, people, perspectives, or insights that could threaten the system appear unimportant, irrelevant, irrational, or impossible to achieve.
2) Negative Framing: Using language that frames new ideas and critics negatively so that nothing that threatens the system can be thought or communicated successfully.
3) Exaggeration: Stereotyping or exaggerating one part of an idea in order to discredit the other parts and the whole.
4) Personalization. Reducing ideas to individual people, then discrediting or lionizing them.
5) Sentimentalization: Using sentimental occasions, ideas, emotions and language to enforce conformity and silence criticism.
6) Seduction. Describing the potential of the existing system in ways that unrealistically promise to fulfill people’s deepest dreams and desires and blame the failure to achieve them on others.
7) Alignment: Communicating that in order to exist, succeed, be happy or achieve influence, it is necessary to conform to the system regardless of its faults.
8 Legitimization. Considering only existing practices as legitimate an all others as illegitimate.
9) Simplification. Reducing disparate, complex, subtle, multi-faceted ideas to uniform, simplistic, superficial, emotionally charged beliefs.
10) False Polarization: Limiting people’s ability to choose by falsely characterizing issues as good or evil, right or wrong, either/or.
11) Selective Repression. Selecting individual critics as examples, bullying them for disagreeing or failing to conform and ostracizing them.
12) Double Binds: Creating double standards that require people to live divided lives, or make it difficult for them to act with integrity.

When individuals who lean away from creative thinking work for systems that discourage creative thinking, like the Cabinet for Health & Family Services, the resistance encountered rises exponentially. Unfortunately, non-creative thinkers, in my experience, tend to be drawn to such organizations.

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2 Responses to The enemy, resistance

  1. Pingback: An example of resistance to change: « Elusive Justice

  2. Pingback: Improving Child Protection in Kentucky Postscript (or - a moment of silence, please) « Elusive Justice

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