The Three Types Of People You Will Meet When Implementing Change

November 6th, 2020 | 10 minute read

The reason change often fails is that it comes from the standpoint of assuming that change can be managed simply by changing structural or strategic aspects of the business, and with this that people will get on board with the change. However change isn’t sustainable without individual people changing their thinking, beliefs and behaviour. To really drive change that lasts, you need to understand people’s behaviour and their motivations for change. Once you know this you can communicate change in a way that connects with, and influences, each group. There are typically three types of people that you need to understand when looking to drive sustained change in your business.

Through all of the behavioural work we do, we use meta-programs to really understand the subconscious behaviours and motivations of team members. The change pattern determines how a person reacts to change and how often they need change to stay motivated. By identifying where on the scale a person defaults to, communication can be tailored to each pattern, and change managed more effectively. This scale categorises people into three types of people when it comes to change. 

The Three Types of People During Change

The Resisters 

Who am I? I’m the skeptical one in your organisation. The one who says “Oh great, another change?” My belief is why change something if it isn’t broken. I use sarcasm as my weapon, eye rolls at any communication of change, and will do my best to derail any change, and bring the rest of the team along with me. But can you blame me? I have worked here for years, I have witness the flash in the pan, shiny stuff and been overpromised and undelivered on a pretty consistent basis. I can’t remember a change that stuck, and delivered on all of the positives with which it was described. 

I have never been asked my opinion, been involved, or really understood the reason behind any of the changes we have made so far – so why would I get on board with this one? 

Sound familiar? The change resisters in your business will talk about change in an unenthusiastic, or even negative way and they won’t have a lot of evidence of self driven change in their life. They will talk about things staying the same, and typically refer to change in a negative way.

So how do you influence to engage with change? 

  • With this group is it important to make the change feel as comfortable as possible by avoiding using words such as “change” “radical” “different” and replacing them with things like “it’s an adjustment” “small tweaks” “not too dissimilar to what you’re doing”
  • If you require this group to change then instead of talking just about the change, focus on the elements that will stay the same regardless of the change.
  • Be cautious not to write off this group – there will be roles in every business that will be suited to people who are more resistant to change. Roles that have a lot of repetition and require someone to do very similar activities every day or to repeat the same process over and over will be better suited to someone who is comfortable working in an environment with less change.

The Evolutionists

Who am I? I’m the one looking for improvements. I’m certainly not radical, but equally I don’t like things to be too traditional. When change happens I am the first to ask “what is the purpose, what is the improvement we are trying to make?” I don’t believe in change for change sake. If a change is driving an improvement, I will be all in. I recently joined a committee involved in helping drive change across the business and that’s right up my street, I find it easy to relate to different people and share with them the benefits behind changes we are looking to make. 

I have worked in the business for a while but in various different roles, I like to switch things up every couple of years so I can try my hand at something slightly different. What’s next on the agenda to tackle?

Recognise this? The evolutionists in your team will talk about change for improvement sake, they will need to see the improvements that a change will drive for them to get on board, once this is established they will buy in, and may even help drive a change. 

So how do you influence to engage with change? 

  • For maximum buy in with this group it is important to share all of the improvements and benefits that will be driven because of the change.
  • This group will typically have evidence of how they have implemented changes for the better and will have more open language and body language around change. You can use this to explore what types of change they have embraced in the past, what has worked for them and what hasn’t, in order to tailor your messaging accordingly. 
  • Because this group sits in the middle of the change scale, they often make great change ambassadors and are engaged with being involved in the process and helping influence others.

The Difference Makers

Who am I? I’m the innovator, the change makers, the one excited by anything new and different. The one who says “yes” to every opportunity and actively seeks out ways to drive change. I love to be the first to try something, I am a regular in the crowdfunding space trying out the latest new gadget before everyone else. I am sometimes described as a bit of a tornado by the people around me, a disrupter of the norm. You won’t ever find me on the same holiday two years in a row, I like to do new things – the more radical the better! 

I haven’t worked here that long, I like to have as many different work experiences as possible. I put my hand up to be involved in any change, and if change doesn’t happen I know that I will get bored quickly. I already have at least 10 thoughts of things to look at, how quickly can we get started?

Recognise anything? The difference makers in your business will talk about being motivated and excited by change, they may even seem radical in their approach and will always be looking for something totally new and unique to implement. They need pretty consistent change otherwise they may disengage. 

So how do you influence to engage with change? 

  • You won’t have any issue engaging this group with change, the challenge will be keeping them engaged in the long term. A useful technique can be to break the change down into several steps of mini change to keep engagement, versus one big change then no change for a period in between.
  • Difference people will appreciate feeling that they are going to be first to market, an innovator, the first to try something, so link this to your change where you feel is appropriate.
  • They will want to see pace and frequent change and will love to talk about innovation, change and that you have an engagement with that.

How Do You Determine The Types of People In Your Business

Above we have given you some pointers that may help you identify the groups through their language and behaviour. You can also ask the below questions to get under the skin of how much change someone is used to and that will give an indication into their grouping.

  • Tell me about some changes that you have made in your life recently?
  • What is your usual approach to change?

Our signature behavioural tool helps you to determine the types of people you have in your business, and their behavioural preferences including their change motivation. You can find out more about this here. 

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