Uninformed? Stupid? Or evil?

Avantika Sinha
Sep 05, 2012

Often when we are trying to to roll out critical initiatives we come up against key stakeholders who exert an equal and opposite force that can bring us to a grinding halt.

We assume that they are misinformed and give them the information that they need to see what we see. But they remain unmoved. We can only conclude that they must be stupid. However some are clearly extremely bright in other areas and so, if they pretend not to understand then, they must have some personal agenda that conflicts with the organization’s goals – they must be evil. And so when we speak about their stand we can’t help but use a disparaging tone.

All he cares about is cutting costs

The problem is that we emit a resentful vibe which they can pick up on, creating a situation in which they are highly unlikely to listen to what we have to say. We can only create a congenial conversation if we are willing to convince ourselves that their position is legitimate and constructive.

If I understand you correctly, the reason you don’t want to approve investment in this project is because you’re afraid costs are already spiralling out of control? Great.. may I talk you through some numbers that will explain why I think that this project is actually going to help us reduce overall costs?

Who are the people you have had significant differences of opinion with? Are you willing to reframe all their positions so that you truly appreciate them for what they are trying to achieve?