Slaying the Naysayers

Slaying the Naysayers

Slaying the Naysayers

We all know one or probably more than one the people in our work environment who shoot down our fledgling ideas and tell us why what we suggesting won’t work.

It can be so frustrating, you come up with a new idea or concept, or are valiantly trying to develop an idea further, and all you get is negativity; every reason why it won’t or couldn’t work.

But what if the naysayers you’re struggling to work with have facts or perspectives that you will need for your idea to come to fruition?

In this blog I’ll explore five ways that you can not only manage, but work much more productively with, the naysayers in your environment

1. Get to know who the naysayers are

You probably know who, in the circle of people you work with, are the naysayers. However, it is worth paying attention to make sure that you quickly pick up when someone sees the problems and issues with an idea more than its potential.

They will be very prone to asking lots of ‘how’ questions as in “how is that going to work?”, and query aspects or areas of detail hasn’t been fully thought through.

2. Find those who like brainstorming and exploring

Your challenge is to find those in your work environment who love new ideas and the chance to explore different thinking and alternate ways of looking at things.

Do however be aware of those that only like their own new ideas, as they’re going to want your time and energy for themselves and not necessarily help you too much!

3. Ask the right people for their views and ideas at the right time

The trick is to ask those that like exploring new ideas and concepts early on in your thinking and idea development.

As you start to move through from exploring the idea, to seeing how it will work, that’s the time to go to the naysayers and find out what the problems will be at this stage. It’s a very useful thing to find out what could go wrong if you were to implement the idea and what it would take to be effectively implemented.

4. Listen to understand

in both cases, when you’re talking to the idea explorers, or the naysayers, your main objective is to listen to what others are saying. Take time to understand whether they have insights that could help build out or further clarify your idea or concept.

As Stephen Covey articulates so well in his book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, the aim is to seek to understand before you seek to be understood. It’s an incredibly powerful maxim and will help you get the most out of your conversations with others.

Canvassing the views and opinions of a wide range of thinkers will allow you to see your idea, design, or concept from multiple perspectives and aid its evolution.

5. Use the feedback you receive to improve on your idea

To benefit from this broad base of feedback, play with the suggestions and criticisms. You have no obligation to take on all or any of them, instead given them all consideration, they may spark yet more insights and improvements as you play with them.

Use the ones that will help you reach the original goal or problem that you set put to solve. Not only are you likely to have developed something workable, there’s a chance it could be brilliant!

How do you deal with the naysayers in your world?

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One of a CEOs biggest mistakes when leading transformation: Treating it like a project

One of a CEOs biggest mistakes when leading transformation: Treating it like a project

One of the biggest mistake CEOs and senior leaders make leading major transformation programs: Treating them like a project.

We are all well aware that large-scale transformation projects are not for the faint hearted.

There’s many moving parts, stakeholders, and invisible power plays that are taking place at any given moment, that can sometimes feel frustrating or overwhelming.

But did you know that if you’re managing your transformation program like a standard project you are setting it, and you, up for failure?

In this blog we look at why this is, and what you need to think about instead, in order to avoid this common mistake CEOs and senior leaders make when leading transformation programs.

 

The differences between a standard project and a transformation program

 

Standard project management techniques have been developed to manage a typical project with a clear start and finish, and definable objectives.

“Transformations are not a set of steps that lead to a clear goal”

Transformations however are not a set of steps that lead to a clear goal. They are more akin to a quest to find a rare animal or plant, or to realise, as yet, an unachieved physical feat. You believe it is possible, but you cannot be absolutely certain that you will succeed.

The important distinction is that while projects typically envision a better future through delivering outcomes and getting tasks done, transformation programs aspire to a desirable, visionary future without knowing exactly how to get there.

While there are common attributes of projects and transformations, there are key differences. One in particular will have significant implications. Does your program have a readily identifiable end? Or, at some point, will what you deliver be the ‘new world’ – the new ‘business as usual’ – for a team, department, or organisation?

Preparation for a transformation versus a project

When you embark on a transformation program with the belief that it’s a project, your approach is likely to be one of running a race, even if you are prepared for it to be a marathon.

The importance of understanding the distinction rests in your mental, physical, and emotional approach. The preparation for a quest would be quite different to that for a race of a known distance.

Expectation setting is key

 

Exhausted by lack of appropriate expectation setting on a project

There is likely to come a point where you and your team have run twice the distance you anticipated, you’ve burned three times as much energy, you’re exhausted, and you’re still not there.

Expectation-setting can be the most important exercise that you can do, particularly in relation to your own expectations.

If you do treat your transformation program like a race, the chances are you’re going to have some unwelcome surprises. There is likely to come a point where you and your team have run twice the distance you anticipated, you’ve burned three times as much energy, you’re exhausted, and you’re still not there.

Thinking differently about the ways you resource and work is going to be vital to both the level of innovation your program achieves, as well as the well-being and feeling of achievement of you and your team.

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