3 Responses to Change: A Framework for Exploring Implications

One of the methods that we like to use a lot is a three responses to change model.  Similar to a traditional stakeholder analysis, the 3 Responses framework groups current and potential future stakeholders according to how they are likely to respond to the idea or possibility of change.

3responses

The first group are the Resistors who, as their name implies, are conservative with regard to some potential change and will resist that change.  Resistors are typically those who derive their sense of self and place from the status quo (like Elites) and for whom any change from the current state of affairs is undesirable (or fraught with such uncertainty that they refuse to contemplate it).

The second group are the Channelers.  These are the stakeholders who recognize that change is coming, typically accept that some degree of change is inevitable, and therefore attempt to channel it as much as possible to align with their preferences and values.

The third group are the Accelerators.  Residing at the opposite end of the spectrum from the Resistors, they are interested in accelerating the changes they see coming.  These are the folks who typically feel marginalized or unfulfilled by the status quo and actually want change.  Accelerators want to put the pedal to the metal for change, to really pour it on.

The 3 Responses model is great because it’s simple, intuitive, and grounded in historical observation of people’s responses to the possibility of change.  We’ve found it to be an easy way to have clients explore the implications of possible change and serves as a solid spring board to discussions about contingencies and strategy.

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