Building Commitment in the Face of Resistance

To help humans commit to change, we need to recognise the core human needs that make us tick and drive all our behaviour - certainty, variety, significance, love and connection, growth and contribution. These elements make up the internal balancing act that signifies how happy and centred we feel at any given time. When change hits one or more of these elements will be impacted, and this creates an emotional reaction.

To successfully navigate change we need to recognise the human emotions at the core and work with them. 

Our Wheel of Change identifies the 4 fundamental stages to enable a shift from resistance to change to commitment to it. 

  • Explore

  • Engage

  • Equip

  • Embed

By working through each phase, recognising the human need at each stage, we can help people to move forwards and start to embrace change.

The Wheel of Change.png


  • Understand the reasons for the change, and what it looks like - making it meaningful and real for people

  • Create a narrative tracking from the past to the present to the future. How does this fit into the overall trajectory?

  • Why is it significant for me? Help people understand what the change means for start by sharing why it’s significant for you


Neurological pathways get built by working through things not being told them, so people need to feel engaged in the process of change so that people feel ownership. It’s tempting to control and look good and have all the answers but that’s an illusion and slows you down. You need to get people involved. Present the issues and boundaries and work together to make the plan - Think of an issue you are having with the change you are working on at the moment or one that you anticipate. Write the issue down as cleanly as you can, what is the question you can work with your team to resolve? 

To maintain engagement - Comms, comms, comms. Keep communication lines open and varied. Communicate even if there is no new news, people start to make things up if you don’t! And make sure it’s real communication, not just a broadcast. People need to vocalise what’s going on for them in order to make sense of it, and move forwards.


We tend to blame others for being resistant to change but can we honestly say we have done all we can to understand why, and mitigate their reasons for resistance? Do they have the skills or the mindset they need? What will help them to move forwards?

Use Gap Analysis to understand what skills you need for the the process of change and for the future and plan ahead for how the gaps might be addressed. Create an open feedback forum where people feel safe to communicate their experience


Enable change to embed by being of service to your people. Help them to develop new neurological pathways through coaching. Take the insight that comes from the feedback forums and putting action to them, clearing blocks to maintain the momentum of change and ensure that it sticks. 

Establish a network of peers to identify and address themes, and ensure solutions are shared.

To dive deeper into how to engage and motivate ourselves and others through change why not come along to our Humans v Change Breakfast of Change on April 30th. Click the link to access a 50% friends discount.