The Neuroscience of Resistance to Change


Traditionally we define resistance to change as actions or inactions, overt or covert, to oppose, block, or minimize the impact of a perceived threat or loss of value. With this definition in mind, traditional change efforts focus on trying to minimize discomfort and increase clarity by establishing greater:

  • Trust

  • Transparency and effective communication

  • Involvement and engagement

A Partial Definition

While trust, effective communication, and engagement create a valuable foundation and support overcoming a wide range of resistance to change, other types of resistance to change are missed under a traditional definition. Past definitions are based on years of experience and are very relevant, but thanks to Neuroscience and understanding resistance to change in terms of how the brain works, we are provided with insight into additional resistance responses which are blocking progress but were unseen before.