You need their interest, but you’ve got their opposition.
It’s important that this individual or group gets interested in what you’re talking about, but at the moment they are clearly opposed to your idea. If that describes the challenge you are facing, consider the following things to get started:
- The score of 1 indicates very strong resistance. Their energy is moving away from your own, and it’s likely that their opposition is personal. Either there something in your history together that is causing them to work against you, or they don’t trust who you represent. If my assumption is correct, then repairing this damaged relationship may be the most important thing you can do right now.
You’ve got to know why they’re opposing you. You can’t afford to guess. You need data! There are generally three reasons why people resist:
- They don’t understand what you’re talking about. (I call this Level 1 resistance.) While it may be true that they don’t understand what you’re talking about, their strong resistance indicates that Level 2 and Level 3 may be the real reasons they’re opposing you.
- They are afraid of your idea. (I call this Level 2.) This can be a hard one to address. It involves emotions, and lots of workplaces don’t like to admit that emotions actually matter. Nevertheless, if they are afraid that your idea will cost them their jobs, it’s in your best interests to let them know what is likely to happen.
- They don’t trust you (or who you represent.) (This is Level 3.) If mistrust or lack of confidence is present, you must address this first. I can almost guarantee that giving more facts and figures (which is how to address Level 1 resistance) will not improve this situation. In fact, explaining things one more time may actually make things worse.
- Once you know why they are opposing you, you can begin to create strategies that can shift their energy. If you already have ideas for how you might shift energy with these people, look no further. Try out what you already know works pretty well. But if you need some ideas, read the article Tips on Working with the Three Levels of Resistance. (See link below.)
- Please watch the short video on this page. It might give you some ideas for ways to move ahead.
How to Make a Compelling Case for Change. This is a paper that will show you ways to help people see WHY a change is needed. The step of making a compelling case is the most important – and the most overlooked – stage in the life of any idea. More
The Magic List. A free e-book that will help you identify why people might be resisting you, and show you how to build on the support you do have and work effectively with whatever resistance you are facing. More
Why Resistance Matters is a four-page article that describes three levels of support and resistance. More
Tips on Working with the Three Levels of Resistance. More
The Energy Bar™ Group
It’s most likely that you’re here because you need to gain support from a team, a full organization, or one key person - possibly for a one-time project, an idea that you'd like to see come to life, or maybe for a large-scale organization change. Keep the momentum going and join The Energy Bar™ Group. Our informal online group is where I share my very best work and resources, with examples of people using The Energy Bar™ effectively in organizations. It’s a place for you to connect with peers, ask questions and offer your own ideas. Our group is free to join, and you can opt out easily at any time. I hope you’ll consider joining me. – Rick Maurer