When leaders ask me why people don’t get it, they are expressing concern about some big, important project that has slowed to a halt.
Quite often, though, I don’t think that is the question they should be asking. What if people do understand what these leaders are saying, but that knowledge scares them?
Perhaps the burning question should be: Why don’t people like it?
That can be a hard question for us to even consider. After all, we believe our ideas and plans are not only necessary and urgent, but they are pretty brilliant too!
To make matters worse, “I don’t like it” can run deep. People might be afraid that they will lose their jobs and paychecks. Or it can go even deeper than that. They fear that our “brilliant” idea could make them look bad, feel worthless, or strip them of their dignity.
And it is often very difficult for people to talk about those strong emotions in the workplace.
Given the risk of failure when fear takes over, I always want to know what’s on people’s minds—and in their hearts and guts—regarding a new project or other organizational change.
How do we find out if people like our idea and want to support it or not? You’ve got to know what’s on “the list.”
The list lets you know the extent to which people get what you are talking about—or not. The extent to which they might truly like the idea—or not. And whether they trust that you are the right one to lead a change like this—or not.
Creating “the list” is one of the first things I do when I start working with a client. Without that vital information, it’s like flying into strange terrain without radar.
Resources for Creating “the List”
The Magic List
The Magic List is a free e-book that helps you get a clearer picture of how people might be reacting. I explain a few fairly easy ways to gather that information.Download PDF
Here are two videos related to “the list” as well:
No Information = Danger: In this short video, I explain the origin of “the list.”
The Power of What If: In this video, I explain how an organization got key stakeholders together to explore the ways in which this big change could fail. I love the way they dive into a topic that is usually avoided. Counterintuitively, it tends to build support for their big projects.
Seizing Moments of Possibility
Seizing Moments of Possibility: Ways to Trigger Energy and Forward Momentum on Your Ideas and Plans is my new book. I think the title explains what it is about.
The e-book version is free.
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