All the difference

Discussing a plan, an idea, a project, a strategy with somebody who’s on a different agenda is challenging.

To push it through, you might be tempted to do one or more of the following.

Make it about the lack of alternatives – i.e. if we don’t do this, we will do nothing.

Make it about the very reason why the group exists – i.e. if we don’t do this, we will disappear.

Make it about something that is happening right here, right now – i.e. if we don’t do this, we will lose the opportunity.

Make it about the will of somebody in power – i.e. if we don’t do this, they will be disappointed.

These are shortcuts. Their main effect is to plant the seed of resistance in those listening. Depending on the circumstance, you might get the desired outcome (the plan, the idea, the project, the strategy will be executed). Yet eventually it will be a bare minimum outcome, something you yourself will be unwilling to put forward.

An alternative approach would be the following: here is what we want to achieve, how do we go about it? When you give people a problem instead of a thing to do, you’ll unlock their creativity and expertise. And they will be committed to delivering their best work, something you yourself will be proud to put forward.

It makes all the difference.

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