(Click on the video below to watch it.)
When we encounter resistance to implement our ideas or to go in a different direction we are delaying the results we expect to get from those changes. So, it is extremely important to be able to convince others to move in a particular direction. This is true both at work and at home.
With that in mind, I have crafted this post to help you to take your influence ability to a whole new level. First I need to set the stage with a video that Dr Eliyahu Goldratt (father of Theory of Constraints) did not that long ago. Even if you have previously watched this video, please watch it again. It sets the stage for the rest of today’s lesson and it’s only 6 minutes long.
Now that you’ve watched the video, it’s time to put it into practice. We did this at the last TOCICO conference (facilitated by Alan Barnard – thanks Alan!) and a number of people had trouble filling out the matrix. And I did too the first time I did it.
Since I was one of the facilitators, I had the benefit of practicing before the conference (during the last days with Eli) and figured out what worked for me and here it is …
Answer these questions in this order:
1) State the change. Be very specific, what you are suggesting be changed?
2) What’s your alligator? What’s the negative of not changing? It is something bad or negative that exists today, and unless a change is made will not go away and will hurt you/us.
3) What’s your mermaid? What’s the positive to not changing for you? It is something good you/we have now, that because of your change you/we will likely lose.
4) What’s your pot of gold? What’s the positive to making the change for you? It is something good you/we don’t have now, but you/we want, and you think we can get if the change is made.
5) What’s your crutch? What the negative to making the change for you? It is something bad (for you/we) that doesn’t exist today, but can and most likely will happen if the change is made.
I found that I wasn’t always explicit with what the proposed change was and when I started with the pot of gold, then the crutch, mermaid and alligator, which is natural – I had trouble. When I used the above order, it worked better for me.
When I analyzed this I realized that the alligator is the UDE (undesirable effect – a Theory of Constraints term) that we start with when we do clouds. This made perfect sense and then it was easier to get my logic straight. It’s also consistent with how we do buy in – we first agree on the problem (the alligator).
Here are 3 examples from Alan Barnard:
Once you answer the questions for you,
then you need to answer questions 2 through 5 again for the person you are trying to convince
and from their perspective.
I found that if you get the alligator right for them, it’s pretty easy. However, if they don’t see the alligator (agree with what you’ve stated as their alligator) – you’ve got a non-starter.
So, pick an issue and do this exercise. Let me know what you learned and if it helped, by leaving a comment below.
Wishing you success,
President, Science of Business
Inventor — Velocity Scheduling System for highly custom job shops
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