No more model citizens! What I learned at the ATKV this week.

ATKV Jeugleiersimposium

Dit was my voorreg om hierdie week, Maandag en Dinsdag, as spreker op te tree by die ATKV se Jeugleiersimposiums by die Goudini Spa naby Worcester en Buffelspoort naby Hartebeespoortdam.

My onderwerp: Vyf soorte weerstand teen leierskap en hoe om dit te hefboom. As jy daar was kan jy die opsomming hier aflaai in die vorm van die skyfie reeks wat ek gebruik het. As jy nie daar was nie, sal dit maar min sin maak vir jou.

Vyf soorte weerstabd teen leierskap


It was my privilege to speak at the ATKV Youth Leaders symposia on Monday and Tuesday this week at Goudini Spa in the Western Cape and Buffelspoort in Gauteng.

My topic: Five types of resistance to leadership and how to leverage them. If you were there you can download the slide show above. If you were not there, it won’t make much sense to you.

Insights from this experience:

I am unable to divorce strategy and narrative from embodiment

I have come to distrust speaking as an effective way of bringing about change completely. There was a time when I thought that experiential interactive processes were mostly effective but that, now and then, speaking was still the best way. That idea might still be true for some and in certain contexts, but no longer for me and I can’t think of a context anymore where I would do it this way. It was my two talks at the ATKV Youth Leadership Symposiums this week that finalised this deduction for me.

Read about the five differences between SNE and motivational speaking.

The audience was wonderfully attentive, intelligent and as interactive as can be expected from 170 youngsters listening to a talk. And they were so beautifully compliant.

However, I wanted to interact with them more – hear about what erks them and talk about resistance. Being an applied theatre practitioner, I did interact, of course, but not in an embodied manner. It was mostly through conversation and feedback. They were model citizens, responding just like I would have wanted them to – if my talk was not about resistance. I no longer want neat well crafted processes where the audience do what the mode of presentation requires. I wanted some disagreement, some sparks. Yes, some resistance.

What I did in these talks was a combination of strategy and narrative, but it is the embodied part of the model that allows participants to interact with the narrative, the ‘story in the room’. If they don’t, it is left, for the most part, un-interrogated. The strategic narrative embodiment model of designing workshops and interventions is the model I developed over the last 7 years in my work in organisation development and leadership coaching.

I have made peace, I think, with the fact that no work I do creates any bangs and does not cause the populace to rise up in adoration. The work is too challenging and out of the ordinary. However, I have come to expect that I will love what I do. Interactive talking just did not do it for me here. I left feeling completely unmoved. That is just no good. So, if you want a 45 min to 1 hour talk on the five types of resistance to leadership and how to leverage them, forget it. I will rather ask for 90 min or 3 hours and do a truly Strategic Narrative Embodiment session.

It seems I am a one song bird.

Contact me to make a booking.

Cosmic resistance – When the world is against me

Emmet from the Lego movieYou have lead your audience past four types of resistance: 1. their doubts and reservations about their own suitability (Personal resistance), whether or not they can trust you (Relational resistance), the practicality of the solution (Practical resistance) and the people that would be on the journey with them (Social resistance). Now they look at their context and go: “Great plan, but life just doesn’t work that way”.  They look at their reality and say: “What if the solution or the people having to implement it fail?” I call this cosmic resistance.

Cosmic resistance is what happens when everything is lined up to go and your budget is cut, or a key player gets sick and unable to continue, or the equipment simply fails. Through no fault of yours, or the people trying to make the difference, it just fails. What then?

Read more and find out  how the Lego movie helps answer the question…

Easing past social resistance when facilitating

Do I fit in?

EeyoreEvery coaching client or participant wants to know:  am I alone in this? Many times somewhere in a coaching session a client would ask something like: “Is it just me who have these issues?” or “I sometimes wonder of my situation is more messed up than other people’s”. Just yesterday one asked me: “Do other women also struggle with the fact that their male colleagues are allowed to rant and rave and get all emotional, but as women they get patronised when they get upset?”.

In facilitations, it is often feedback like: “we discovered that our problems are very similar” or “i am so glad I am not alone in this”, that helps the facilitator know that social resistance is breaking down. Yet, this is not one you can give a single blow and be done with, it can take some people a long time to feel part of a group. This type of resistance must be gently worked on throughout a coaching session or a facilitation.

In the Lord of the Rings Frodo has learned that he is chosen (breaking through personal resistance) he has learned that he can trust Gandalf  (relational resistance) and he has heard the plan (practical resistance). Now he trembles as he almost accepts his duty…”So I must go to Mordor and deliver this ring into the fires that created it. And I must go alone…” But Gandalf surprises him. The wizard gets up, opens the door and brings in Samwise who had been eavesdropping the entire time. Neither Samwise nor Frodo can believe their good fortune when Gandalf informs them that Samwise must accompany Frodo. Sam is thrilled because of the promise of adventure, Frodo is thrilled because he would not be alone.

Samwise becomes Frodo’s loyal companion and it is thanks to him that Frodo finally manages to achieve the objective. We all need loyal support when we accept a new idea, try out a new habit or open up to a new perspective. But there are other social forces too that are needed to make sure we succeed and we must work on all of them throughout a process. I will share six of them with you here. Note that they work together in pairs.

Read more on the Playing Mantis blog andfind out what Eeyore has to do with it.

Breaking through Personal Resistance


Call on the hero’s Character

Once the audience catches on to a new idea, a new way of viewing a problem reframed as a possibility (Introduction), they must be enrolled as the heroes who can make that possibility happen.

As soon as your audience starts dreaming about new possibilities their status quo is threatened. This automatically leads to at least five kinds of resistance. The first kind is personal resistance. You can also call it moral objection. Your audience is asking: Why me? How is this relevant to me?

The most effective strategy to overcome this kind of resistance is… read the rest on the Playing Mantis blog and find out what The Lord of the Rings had to do with it.