How to win over critics and get buy in for your ideas

Came across a review of a new book called "Buy In" by John Kotter & Lorne Whitehead.

I thought it was interesting because one of the biggest challenges in setting up a property syndicate is finding a group of like-minded people that are open to innovative ways of doing things...

I've summarised parts of the review below:

You believe in a good idea. You know it could make a crucial difference for you, your organization, your community. You present it, hoping for enthusiastic support. Instead, you get confounding questions, inane comments, and verbal bullets. Before you know what's hit you, your idea is dead.

The authors argue it doesn’t have to be this way, and offer a counterintuitive approach to making sure you triumph over the naysayers. It starts by welcoming those critics into the conversation and basically encouraging them to shoot at you. Sometimes the toughest part of getting an idea approved is drawing attention to it, and the attacks will help generate the interest you need.

Instead of trying to overwhelm your critics with a barrage of facts and figures, or counterpunch with heated replies, listen patiently and respond civilly, with crisp, general, respectful answers.

Kotter & Whitehead list 24 seperate attacks or arguments that can come up and fall into four main categories:

  1. Fear mongering: This sort of attack raises anxieties, so that a thoughtful examination of the proposal is difficult, if not impossible.
  2. Delay: These objections slow down the communication and discussion of the plan so critical buy-in can’t be achieved before a critical cut-off time or organizational attention wanders on to something else.
  3. Confusion: Here you endure a fusillade of questions and criticisms that aren’t even related to one another – “What about this?” “What about that?” The discussion spirals out of control, and the audience concludes the proposal isn’t well thought out.
  4. Ridicule or character assassination: Here the verbal bullets are aimed at you, not the idea, as the critics try to make the idea’s proponent look silly.

The book  also provides a short, generous reply that will help you deflate each attack in a charming, deft way.

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