Be careful what you wish for, lest it come true. -- Familiar idiom.
Here is a thought experiment to try with your friends, family or students:
a. Fill in the blank with a goal, a situation, condition or event, to complete the following sentence:
Wouldn’t it be a better world if everyone could agree on (Goal).
You could substitute other phrases for “a better world” such as “nice,” wonderful,” “a real moral improvement,” or “peachy keen” or “healthier.” Pick something you can get your group to agree on as a substitution.
b. Once you have your statement, e.g. Wouldn’t it be more environmentally sound for people to agree to ban all automobile traffic from inner city commercial areas?, ask your participants to speculate as to who would likely agree to the statement (and why) and who would likely oppose it (and why).
c. Using the chart available at Assessing the Likelihood of Implementing Change , (ALIC) locate your supporters and resisters and the proportions of each you estimate there are. Fill in Line A on the chart.
d. Continue using the above chart to speculate how much you would have to change the percentages of each subgroup to bring them to the likelihood of supporting the change (here, agree with the statement.) Fill in Line B on the ALIC.
e. Considering the Ways to Overcome Resistance suggested by Kotter and Schlesinger in the ALIC, fill in the grid block the likelihood, or your group’s likelihood, of finding the resources to implement these ways, e.g. education & communication, participation & involvement, … etc.
Now consider the following questions:
1. Is the goal well enough defined to be operationalized to avoid a slow shifting (creep) of the target? (See Operationalization.)
2. Consider some of the costs involved in implementing the changes needed; would they be worth the benefits hoped for? Consider who it is who would perceive the achieved goal as a benefit; and, who would think it to be a cost. (You might want to revisit step b. above at this point.)
3. Considering the costs involved in implementing the changes needed, would it be wiser to redefine the Goal so as to shrink the budget needed? (This is a very common practice in all institutions, public and private.)
4. Are the needed ratios of supporters and resisters (see Line B in the ALIC) likely to remain constant through the change process?
To examine these issues further, if you are involved with education, see POLITICS, CONSENSUS AND EDUCATIONAL REFORM
If you are involved with other kinds of organizations, or if you want a more general overview, see Employee Resistance to Organizational Change