How To Turn Resistance Into Engagement | Boostalab

During a change process, whether it’s a new one or an ongoing organizational project, resistance and engagement are both sides of the same coin. Heads or tails? Neuroscience research shows that when the status quo is challenged, we react in five areas: status, certainty, autonomy, relationships and equity. Each person reacts to these areas in their own way: the same change can be perceived as a threat by someone, and as an opportunity by someone else.

By targeting the areas which may elicit the strongest reactions in the people affected by this change, you can tailor support to focus on balancing the feelings of loss and gain. This is how we can turn resistance into engagement.

So, heads or tails? This tool contains dozens of ideas about different action to take to foster engagement among key players. Add your own ideas to the list, they’re likely to be just as good!


  • From the beginning of a project or as soon as a decision that impacts people is being made, to reflect on the best way to get them involved in the project.
  • As you’re progressing, to make sure that you’re properly aligned with the people who are or will be affected by this change.


  • You can start by filling out this tool on an individual basis.
  • You can also bring together your natural team, your project team or a management committee to start this reflection.
  • Print as many copies as there are groups affected by the change.
  • This tool can be used to try to predict how an individual or a group of individuals sharing the same tasks, beliefs or values will react.
  • Use this tool regardless of the scope of the project or the type of change.
  • To validate your perception, ask the people affected: ʺWhat concerns you the most, right now, regarding this change?ʺ This will give you clues as to the type of actions to take to neutralize the perceived threat and engage people in this change.
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