How To Get People To Follow You When They Disagree

I was talking with a client, once, about implementing a new protocol within his team.

“How will we get people on board with this?”

That question has a 2 part answer.

Part 1

It helps if someone has done this before. ThisĀ is called evidence-based implementation and it may require hiring a consultant, doing a lot of reading, or perhaps getting a colleague trained in a new skill.

But part 2 is even more helpful.

Part 2

You are going to need to get alignment from the team who will be responsible for doing the work.

Don’t think for 2 seconds that the group of people who will have to live with this decision are going to just trust you without having any skin in day-to-day game.

To be clear, I’m not saying you need to get everyone to AGREE. You just need to get everyone ALIGNED.

Agreement is nearly impossible to get and the odds get slimmer as the team gets larger. It also doesn’t prevent people from changing their minds that the plan was a good idea. Blame will still fly. Resentment will still build.

Alignment is a way to get a large group of people behind a new decision even if they don’t agree. You can say things like “if I’m wrong about this and we have to back out, I’ll buy everyone tickets to the sportsball game,” or “I’m willing to be wrong about this idea–but we have to try it first. I need your help testing this out and finding the strengths and weaknesses in this plan.”

Most people, even if they don’t agree with you, can align with a mission like this. This also allows people to see that you’re taking a pretty reasonable, results-driven approach instead of a blindly led, authoritarian one.

When it gets hard, people who are aligned will continue to do the work (even if they disagree), because they know the intention behind the idea and they know their supervisor has their backs.

2 Minute Action:

If you’re trying something new with your team, partner, spouse, organization, etc. . .

Take 2 minutes to:

  • Reach out as soon as possible with the idea/plan/goal and where it came from.
  • Paint the picture of the promised land.
  • Say what you will do if it blows up.

Show deliberation.

Show empathy.

Show a focus on results.

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