What should I do if I have an entire group/team attending the training that is very bitter and angry with management and resistant to change?
This is a great question. Let me share a few tips that may be helpful to think about.
1. If you have the opportunity to work with this group in their intact work team, I recommend engaging them in the activity on page 165 of the toolkit (page 139 of the trainer guide)—the optional Team Application for Master My Stories in Module 7. It’s probably one that they didn’t do in the Crucial Conversations class—so it will be new to them. The key for you is to make it safe for them to fully engage and use their skills to speak honestly, openly, and with respect.
2. Get them to acknowledge the costs of the status quo. What’s the cost of doing nothing? What’s the cost if they aren’t open and honest with one another?
3. Have them share success stories. While it can be daunting to take on a huge entrenched problem (like an angry, bitter culture that’s resistant to change), it can be helpful, motivating, and even inspiring to hear how others’ small steps have yielded results. Seek out opinion leaders and encourage them to share where they’ve been successful.
4. Finally, remind them that even if they try and just do a “pretty good” job of using the skills (vs. a perfect job), they can still get better results. Sometimes simply changing a few words, or the intent of an approach can dramatically alter how the other person reacts.