The Passive-Aggressive
and Decision
posts demonstrated two types of hidden conflict. Now we’re going to turn to open conflict.

As frustrating as it might
be to respectfully (and often, repeatedly!) listen to objections and work
through them in a positive manner, remember that open conflict can be a good

Until people are willing
to voice their concerns sustainable change will be nearly impossible.

The first open conflict resistor
we’ll discuss is “the sniper”.  

is when someone repeatedly finds something wrong with the change approach
or otherwise voices reasons the organization should not proceed. This person never offers any advice or
assistance in combating the issues they raise. They shoot from a safe distance and then run.

Sometimes the issues they raise are
vague and difficult to address. Other
times they are quite specific and perhaps even based on knowledge uniquely available
to the sniper (e.g. IT, product development).   

If you’re not careful,
these people will keep you jumping through unproductive hoops as a deflection

What can you do about it? 

Deal with the sniper by pulling
them into the solution. If their issue
is vague, they need to either help define its specifics or acknowledge that
it’s not an issue at all. If the issue
is specific, convince them that their unique knowledge is needed to solve the

If they’re not involved,
they will keep finding one issue after another with diminishing returns to the
change effort. 

In my personal experience,
these people are usually feeling left out, ignored, or marginalized, pulling
them in is half the battle. If you need
to, get your executive sponsor to reinforce this approach.

Once involved, they may
just prove to be your biggest ally. 

(Previous posts in this
series: A
Collaborative Series
, Culture,
, The
Bad and the Ugly
, Passive-Aggressive
, Decision

Technorati tags: , , ,