People often react to change by resisting it, and smart change agents know that being aggressive only makes people increasingly defensive. Here are three ways to move around the defenses and closer to your goal:

  • Find another way in. If your change is rebuffed, try another tactic. Find out what matters to the people whose support you need and shift the focus of the change to take their preferences and goals into account.
  • Befriend people closest to your resisters. Make friends with administrative assistants, direct reports, or other people who spend time with them. These relationships often yield useful information and help get your ideas heard.
  • Go bottom up. If senior management is resisting your idea, start from the bottom of the organization and build grassroots support. With enough backing, you may be able to convince leaders to reconsider.
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