being human stories

To drag or not to drag

Updated: Sep 29, 2020










To drag one's heels - to move slowly and reluctantly because one does not want to do something.


So you've come up with a great idea, it will change the way you work. It will increase employee moral, it will provide growth and many opportunities, the list of benefits is endless.


Everyone's on board, most are very excited and cant wait for the new way to be implemented. There's questions and curiosity - that's to be expected. You are prepared for that and answer all questions as transparently as possible.


And then there's Tony.


Everyone has a Tony. Tony doesn't really see the need to change anything. He's quite happy and content in his arena. He's been doing the same thing for 8 years now and his team know exactly where they stand and what they can and cannot do. He is in total control.


Tony will attend the change management meetings, he will even voice that change is good - he may give every indication he is willing to go along with the change. He probably wont add - in his own terms and at his own pace.


The easy bit is identifying the Tonys - they leave clues everywhere. The hard bit is working out how we can truly and successfully bring them along with us.

Or are we prepared to lose them along the way?


Rather than trying to convince Tony the reasons why the change will be great, another approach can be to ask an influential question - dont offer more information - ask more questions.

Give Tony a safe environment to explore motivations he already has that will assist moving towards the change.


Prochaska and DiClemente Stage of Change can be helpful here.

Stage 1. Pre contemplation (not ready)

Raise doubt and increase Tony's perception of the risks and problems with his current behaviour. Provide harm reduction strategies.


Stage 2. Contemplation ( getting ready)

Weigh up the pros and cons of change with Tony and work on helping him tip the balance by:

  • exploring ambivalence and alternatives

  • identifying reasons for change/risks of not changing

  • increasing the patient’s confidence in their ability to change

Stage 3. Preparation ( ready)

Clear goal setting – help Tony to develop a realistic plan for making a change and to take steps toward change.


Stage 4. Maintenance (sticking to the plan)

Help Tony to identify and use strategies to prevent relapse


Possible Stage 5 - Relapse ( learning)

Help Tony renew the processes of contemplation and action without becoming stuck or demoralised.



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