Dealing with those who benefit from the status quo.

The people who are profiting from the current state of practice and the old way of living are the ones who show the highest resistance to change. Some of them have significant amount of control over certain resources, access and riches. Most of it comes from the status quo itself. As long as they resist to the changes there is a chance that the change might never happen. This is true in the case of organizations as well as the society itself.

Why do people refuse to change the status quo?

One reason is that by doing so will cause a significant material loss to that person. Take freedom of speech for example. Even though it’s a good thing, some people will benefit from silencing the media and the public. In this situation, the people who benefit from silencing the media will do everything they can to keep the people silenced. This is a common natural reaction we see among people.

Another reason can be a non-material loss. This means a threat to non-material things they value such as morals, norms, social order etc. Morals are the classification of right and wrong behaviors. Norms are the set of acceptable behavior. Social orders are the social arrangements of people and resources by using institutions, status etc. If a person sees the change might threaten one of the values he hold dear it will make him resistant to the change.

Next reason is there is no dissatisfaction in the current ways of practice. Unless people are dissatisfied with their current situation they will not think of change. But there should be enough number of dissatisfied people, at least the ones who hold power.

As a change maker, the first thing we need to figure out is who are those people resisting to the change and what resources they control. You can do something similar to a stakeholder analysis.

Next is to identify what they would lose. Once we identify what is at stake then only we can address it or help to recover the loss or balance it with some other gains.

Unless you can get enough people on your side it is not possible to make a change.

17-11-2021 text correction