Wednesday, June 28, 2017

How to Overcome Resistance to Your Ideas

Companies like Google and Amazon expect every employee to come up with new ideas, no matter how outrageous they may seem. But what if you don't work for such a company, and even your suggestion to try new paper towels in the break room is met with resistance?

There are ways to get your ideas heard and respected, but it takes a little planning. Here are some roadblocks you might come across and how to deal with them:

1.  We should stay with what is working. When a boss or colleague uses that argument, you should say something like, "Well, that's what Blockbuster and Kodak said. And they both crashed. While it's true that we're successful now, those who fail to be more agile and adapt become extinct."

2.  It's a waste of time. If your idea is attacked for not being important, don't give up.  Help the resistant person see that there are real people who suffer because of the problem you want to solve, and to them it is a very big deal.

4. It's too small. If someone argues that your idea doesn't go far enough, help them see that your idea is a way to get things started in the right direction and it's time to get started before someone else moves into that territory.

5. No one else is doing it. If you're questioned as to why someone else hasn't already implemented your good idea somewhere else, point out that "there really is a first time for everything, and we do have a unique opportunity." Drop the names Google, Amazon and Netflix -- and then point out how they've made ideas into reality.

6. It didn't work before. Shooting down your idea by saying it's been done before is a common tactic — whether it's true or not. Respond by saying that market conditions are changing rapidly and it takes persistence and tinkering to find the right combination. "What we propose probably isn't exactly what was tried before," you say.

7. Delay, delay, delay. You may be told that now isn't the "right" time for your idea, and it should be put off until something else happens, or changes. Don't be fooled by the person pretending to like your idea, only to try and kill it. Say something like, "The best time to take action is when people are excited and want to make things happen. That time is now."

8. It's too much work. That's a genuine concern because most people in the workplace today really are overworked and underpaid. To battle that argument, respond with "Taking on a challenge can be invigorating. A great new idea that we must tackle under time limits can inject new energy and motivate us to be more efficient with our time."

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