Myth #1: People are inherently resistant to change

By Dr. Steve Caldwell, PhD | Steve Caldwell Series

Apr 20
birth of a myth Steve Caldwell PhD

Have you ever wondered why people are inherently resistant to change even when it is obvious that the change will benefit them? I find this “mystery” especially frustrating in CPG sales. You believe you have a product that would really make things better for others. Yet, even the best marketing message and presentation gets a blank stare from your customer. Selling requires some form of behavioral change. The buyer must act differently to acquire something they have not bought before.

Applying behavioral change principles can open a whole new view to sales approaches. First, you must understand that there is nothing inherent in human nature that causes resistance to change. People will change in a heartbeat when (now don’t miss this),

the risk of the status quo becomes greater than the risk of the change… or to put it another way, the risk of buying becomes less than the risk of not buying.

People agree that your product is better, but they do not buy. There is some gravitational pull toward the status quo. Especially in very large corporations. It’s safe. People fear blame or loss if they are wrong and uncertainty can be unnerving. The little voice in their head says, “just keep things the way they are.”

Often, we think that by dangling something of value in front of someone they will make the change. Experience tells us, “being rewarded is not enough.”

This leaves many to assume that “people are naturally resistant to change.” I am sure you have heard this often and probably said it yourself, but this is a myth. There is nothing in human nature that causes people to resistant to change. People can change without hesitation… under certain conditions.

That’s good news. You can do nothing about someone’s nature, but you sure can affect the condition under which change occurs. Perceptions of risk are complex and have many causes. The solution is always TRUST and that’s good, because trust is something everybody wants more of. Right?

Not so – another myth needing to be busted.

Stay tune!

You can get more Double Bottom Line insights from Dr Caldwell’s book ‘Winning in a Hostile Environment’ available through or you can have him personally come share these insights with your team. He can be reached at or 864-907-2052

About the Author

Steve Caldwell, author of "Winning in a Hostile Environment: The Double Bottom Line Mandate", holds a PhD in Management of Human Behavior from Georgia Institute of Technology. He is both an accomplished teacher and researcher, with numerous publications in peer-reviewed academic journals. Prior to obtaining his doctorate, Steve spent 28 years in the business world, serving as an executive in the Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola bottling networks. He is currently CEO of DBL Insights, LLC providing consulting and coaching services to business leaders.