The Reckless Drivers

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After delivering a workshop in Calgary, I was ready to head back to Vancouver for the Remembrance Day weekend. It had been snowing all day and the roads were completely covered. The taxi ride to the airport was awfully slow during the evening rush hour. There were numerous accidents along the way. I thought cities such as Calgary would have been better prepared for snow than Vancouver.

The impatient drivers honked their way through intersections. They cut in front of other cars. They didn’t slow down for anything. Some might be driving with bald tires. These folks are fully aware of the risk they expose themselves and others to; yet they continue to drive recklessly. It is unlikely that they would change their driving habit regardless of the condition they are in.

In any change initiative, there are generally three kinds of response:

  1. Supporter—he recognizes the need for change and is ready to get on board to make the change happen.
  2. Fence sitter—he is not sure how the change would affect him and is skeptical of the benefits. He can be swayed one way or the other subject to his apprehension of the outcome and the impact on him.
  3. Rejecter—he is determined that the change would undermine status quo, triggering negative impacts on him.

The rejecters are like the reckless drivers who won’t change their habit no matter what the surrounding condition is. Here are a few things you could do with the rejecters:

  1. Articulate clearly the goals of the change—help them recognize the urgency and the benefits of change.
  2. Provide the support they need—help these people overcome their fear, address their concerns, and provide the necessary training and support. Give them the benefit of doubt.
  3. Jettison the mouldy strawberries—part ways with those who would not change. It is better to avoid the spread of the mould which could result in more resistance.
  4. Focus on the fence sitters—help this group understand the need and get them on board.

It is impossible to convert people who are not willing to change. The desire to change must come from within. Just like the impatient drivers, their choice to drive recklessly would change only when they see the benefits. Impatient drivers are everywhere. Therefore, Vancouverites are not bad after all when snow falls!

© Connie Siu 2012. All rights reserved.

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