Looking at Resistance to Change from a Neuroscience Perspective

We're used to thinking about resistance to change as a by-product of fear of the unknown or a response to perceived threat. There is a third and equally powerful cause for resistance we should be aware of from a Neuroscience perspective.

As change leaders, we've known for a long time that people experience discomfort because of unknown and threatening elements of change. As a result, we've become experts in how to minimize threat. Not that we always get to practice what we know, but when we do, we try to create effective communication and design change to reduce threat in areas that are most important to people like autonomy and a sense of fairness.

When people resist change, what are they responding to?

  • Fear of the unknown.

  • Perceived threats.

  • (The discomf