Keeping Change Alive

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Keeping Change Alive

For many people, keeping the change alive is the boring part. All the hoopla, brainstorming, and exciting new ideas are a distant memory. Now you are making sure the bugs are out of the system, the new technology works, people’s questions are answered, the work is moving you toward your desired goals.

This is a critically important part of the change process and one that gets neglected in theory and in practice. Many changes just fade away at this stage. No one notices because the change has become such a back-burner low priority item. And no one can learn from mistakes because no one is paying much attention any more.

If you want to truly implement organizational change effectively and avoid the resistance to change that can occur late in the life of a major project, then you must attend to this phase. Here are some ideas that can help.

    Getting Started on the Right Foot

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    Getting Started on the Right Foot

    We take change without migraines™ seriously. We truly know that it is possible to lead change without all those headaches. Here are a number of articles and assessment tools that focus on change management and resistance to change. We believe these tools for managing organizational change can help you support new initiatives. We encourage you to make copies and use them in your organization.

      Making a Compelling Case for Change

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      Making a Compelling Case for Change

      One thing sets successful change management strategies apart from those that don’t work – people believe a change is needed. In a study we conducted,we found that in 95 percent of the successful changes, those who had a stake in the outcome understood that something had to change.

      Making a compelling case for change is critical to your success. Everything else rests on your ability to get this message across. If you fail here, everything else is going to be harder. You will surely face resistance to change. And that’s not pretty. The change may take longer, cost more, give you headaches, and ultimately fail. Sadly, many rush past this phase and a pay a high price.

      Are you certain that most (if not all) critical stakeholders see – and feel in their guts – a compelling need to change?

      Here are some resources that can help you answer that question and make a compelling case for change.

        Getting Back on Track

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        Even the best plans can derail. Conditions change – changing market forces, new directives from headquarters, a change in personnel, a union election, and so on. In other words, resistance to change takes over. Managing organizational change is especially challenging during this stage.

        Three critical things to know at this stage:

        • Be able to spot resistance early and in its many subtle forms, and be able to determine if the potential derailment is caused by technical, financial, or human factors. These are common sources of resistance to change. If you know these, you can avoid many of the real headaches that come with change.
        • Ways to find out why things are going off track. If you judge
          wrong, you can either get people madder at you or waste
          some valuable time.
        • Strategies to turn opposition and reluctance into support.

        Here are some tools that can help.

        From Grumblers to Allies: Reaching Consensus with The Energy Bar™

        Are you a leader who needs the whole-hearted support of people who don’t report to you? In a survey I just completed, I found this to be a huge problem. The people whose support you need could be your boss, other executives, the board, customers, or even a gatekeeper.

        Your success may rest on your ability to influence those people. But leaders told me that isn’t so easy. Here are a few comments about these potential stakeholders:

        “. . . is extremely busy and stressed”

        “. . . lots of initiatives being rolled out (right now)”

        “. .. (my) access is limited”

        “. . .He is not passionate about what I’m passionate about.”

        “. . .competing priorities”

        And the list goes on and on.

        And the price of failure to gain support can be very high. People said:

        “. . .I could lose my job”

        “. . .it could inhibit long-term success”

        “. . .the project will fail”

        “. . . it could get in the way of a huge, multimillion dollar project

        “. . . it could damage trust”

        And this list goes on and on, as well.

        How do you earn the strong support of people who don’t report to you?

        Let me use The Energy Bar™ to show you what to you could do. (If you aren’t familiar with The Energy Bar™, please take a look at this 3-minute animated video: www.rickmaurer.com/energybar)

        People told me they needed stakeholders to be strong supporters. That’s as far to the right as you can get on The Energy Bar™. You’re asking them to be allies, champions, spokespeople, living embodiments of the goodness of this new idea. That’s a lot of support to ask for.

         What Support Will You Need?

        The Energy Bar™

        Resistance                                                                                                  Support                                                                                                                           !_________!___________!___________!___________!___________!_____X______!

        Opposition          Grumbling        Indifferent      Interested       Willing             Ally

        Before you can try to influence people to support you that strongly, you’ve got to know where they are today. According to the results of my study, many of the critical stakeholders are far from being an “ally” on The Energy Bar™.

        Where is Their Energy Today?

        The Energy Bar™

        Resistance                                                                                                  Support                                                                                                                           !_________!___________!_____X______!___________!___________!___________!

        Opposition          Grumbling        Indifferent      Interested       Willing             Ally

        They are on the resistance side of the bar. Perhaps they’re indifferent to what you have to say. After all, they’ve got their own priorities, their own budget battles, their own dreams. So, they aren’t necessarily against you, they just don’t care! If this is where they are, that’s important to know.

        The Energy Bar™

        Resistance                                                                                                      Support                                                                                                                           !_________!_____X______!___________!___________!___________!___________!

        Opposition          Grumbling        Indifferent      Interested       Willing             Ally

        But perhaps they are farther to the left, and the resistance is a bit stronger. They are grumbling. When they hear about your idea, they roll their eyes or think, “Here we go again”, “It’s another flavor of the month”, or “What’s she been smoking this time?” If they are grumbling, you need to know that.

         

         The Energy Bar™

        Resistance                                                                                                  Support                                                                                                                           !_____X___!___________!___________!___________!___________!___________!

        Opposition          Grumbling        Indifferent      Interested       Willing             Ally

        Perhaps they are way over to the left. If so, they are likely to oppose you with vigor. There could be a lot of reasons for that. Perhaps they’ve got their own priorities or their own pet projects that they want to keep alive. Perhaps they’re afraid that your idea will harm them personally. Or – and this is a tough one – maybe they don’t trust you.

        You must learn where their energy is today. Granted, you might not like what you see, but without that information, you’ll be flying into a storm without radar. You’ll just be inviting trouble.

        Acting on That Knowledge

        Once you know where they are on The Energy Bar™ and where you’d like them to be, you can create a plan. If the gap is pretty wide, like it is in this example, big things will probably be equally big mistakes. Avoid big events. Take Ringling Brothers off your speed dial for now and keep your strategy simple and small. You need to look for ways to start moving energy from left to right, step-by-step.

        Although you need them to move all the way over to Ally on the bar, think about the opportunities you have coming up where you could move energy in incremental ways. For instance, a weekly staff meeting, the regular conference call with all the regions, informal one-on-one phone calls, hallways meetings either by chance or choice – no “event” is too small to consider. Any of these events can be an opportunity to move energy from left to right.

        Here’s what to do.

        1. Define a realistic goal for the next event. Just moving a potential supporter from grumbling to indifferent could be a big step. Or maybe it would be realistic to move them from indifferent to interested. You’re not going to ask them to do anything other than get interested in what you have to say.

        2. Take a look at how you typically handle yourself during one of these events and ask yourself, “Can this strategy shift their energy?” Lots of meetings are filled with slideshow presentations. If that sounds like you, then ask yourself, “Will my hundred and fifty tightly-packed PowerPoint slides actually move their energy from Grumbling to Interested during that teleconference?” If not, then try something else. Subtle changes in how you run a meeting can make a big difference. One of my clients decided to cut his typical large deck of slides down to five slides. That was a big deal. It left a lot more time and space for conversation and engagement. Even if this extra space doesn’t result in conversation, it does allow people to digest and think about the topic at hand.

        3. Figure out how you will know if energy has actually shifted. I saw an eager young manager make a presentation to colleagues from across his organization. It was clear that he cared about his idea and that he had spent a lot of time preparing his slideshow. But by focusing on his slides instead of his audience, he missed some critical information. Within minutes some people moved to the back of the room to get coffee. That’s OK, but they stayed there and talked to each other. One guy in front of me was doing a crossword. Others were texting. He missed all of that. At the end of his 45-minute presentation he asked, “What do you think?” The room was silent. He stood there for a few seconds and then walked off the stage. Just looking up a few times would have told him where energy was and where it was moving.

        4. Let’s say your event was successful. The next question is, how are you going to build on this energy and keep things moving? It is sad how many planning meetings generate lots of enthusiasm and ideas, but aren’t followed up by tactical plans that build on the foundation that was just laid in that meeting.

        I truly believe that if you pay attention to The Energy Bar™ throughout the life of a project, you will find yourself building strong support and avoiding much of the potentially damaging resistance. I wish you well.

         Resources:

        The Energy Bar™ video. This is a 3-minute animated video that explains this simple tool. Many have told me that they were able to begin to use The Energy Bar™ simply by watching this video. www.rickmaurer.com/energybar

        How do I find out where energy is today? I use something I call “the list” to find out where support and resistance is today. In fact, I never work on a change project with a client without finding out what’s on the list. The Magic List is a short e-book that will show you why it is a practical tool and how to use it. https://rickmaurer.com/magic-list/

        I continue to post ideas for applying The Energy Bar™ in this blog.

        Questions or comments? Send me an e-mail or give me a call. rick@rickmaurer.com or 703 525-7074 (US)

        • Rick Maurer

        Rick Maurer works with leaders who can’t afford to have resistance kill their plans. He is author of Beyond the Wall of Resistance and other books on leadership, influence, and change.

        How You Can Shift Energy in Your Favor – or Not!

        (Part of The Energy Bar series #12)

        People tell me how challenging it is to run meetings and conference calls that get people energized and engaged. So, I started thinking about all of the approaches that I’ve actually seen work. I asked, what are the common elements in successful events as varied as large meetings that engage hundreds of people, small team meetings that accomplish things, teleconferences, and those simple pick up the phone and call someone else exchanges?

        I identified six things. Let’s start with two of them:

        1. People see the need for this event. I continue to be surprised how often people are invited to “events” and have no idea why this topic is worth discussing. (I use event to describe anything we do in an effort to influence others; that could be a meeting of 500 or a short phone call to just one person.)
        2. The “right people” are invited. I know that some in my field believe that whoever comes are the right people. Maybe, spiritually and morally that’s a good thing, but it’s not how real organizations work. You need people who can make decisions and act. Once you start loading up events with people who have no power to make decisions (and that includes that row of people sitting at back table just watching), then you risk sapping any potential positive work that could result.

        I picked these two for this post because they are a great starting point for making events worthwhile.  Here is an easy way to see if what I am saying matters. Simply pay attention to the meetings (including phone calls) that you are asked to attend over the next few days. If these events seem to hum along nicely, then ask yourself: do people know why these meetings are important? And, do they know why they were invited to take part?  I think you’ll find that those two items matter a lot, and that they are overlooked with surprising regularity.

        (BTW, I will cover the other four items in my next two posts )

        I’d love to hear your thoughts.

        Click to see a three-minute animated video on The Energy Bar.

         

        What the Magna Carta Could Teach Corporate Leaders

        This month marks the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, a document that provided rule-of-law protection for the people. Lord Dening, a 20th Century British jurist, called it “the greatest constitutional document of all time, the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot.”

        (On the New Year’s Eve of 2013, the United States Archives put an original copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Lincoln on display on January 1, 1863. As visitors entered the hall, they first passed one of only four remaining original copies of the Magna Carta. It is almost impossible for me to describe the experience of standing in line between those two important documents.)

        Daniel Hannan, writing in The Wall Street Journal (5/30/15) said, “The bishops and barons who had brought King John to the negotiating table understood that rights required an enforcement mechanism. The potency of a charter is not in its parchment but in the authority of its interpretation.” Hannan mentions other lofty documents, such as the constitution of the U.S.S.R. that also promise rights such as free speech. “But, as Soviet citizens learned, paper rights are worthless in the absence of mechanisms to hold rules to account.”

        That got me thinking about corporate vision and values statements. They often promise so many wonderful things – attention to diversity and inclusion, trust, teamwork, and so forth – but that’s where it often ends. The organizations might live by some of these values when it is convenient, or until conditions change. (Do you remember Enron, the company that became a poster child for corporate malfeasance? Run a Google search on “Enron’s values” and you will find one of the most inspiring set of values statements you could ever hope to read.) Here is a taste of what they wrote:

        Respect – We treat others as we would like to be treated.

        Integrity – We work with customers and prospects openly, honestly, and sincerely.

         I have never seen a serious enforcement component to well-meaning values statements. (Here is where I would love to be proven wrong. Please comment if you know of organizations that back their stated values with “rule of law.”)

        If you are thinking of creating a new set of values statements (or are a consultant who is going to help a client take on that task), don’t get swept up in the moment of creation. Talking about the possibility of bringing lofty ideals to life can be heady. And that’s great. Demand, however, that equal attention be paid to enforcement. Remind yourselves of the Magna Carta.

        What the Magna Carta Could Teach Corporate Leaders

        This month marks the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, a document that provided rule-of-law protection for the people. Lord Dening, a 20th Century British jurist, called it “the greatest constitutional document of all time, the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot.”

        (On the New Year’s Eve of 2013, the United States Archives put an original copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Lincoln on display on January 1, 1863. As visitors entered the hall, they first passed one of only four remaining original copies of the Magna Carta. It is almost impossible for me to describe the experience of standing in line between those two important documents.)

        Daniel Hannan, writing in The Wall Street Journal (5/30/15) said, “The bishops and barons who had brought King John to the negotiating table understood that rights required an enforcement mechanism. The potency of a charter is not in its parchment but in the authority of its interpretation.” Hannan mentions other lofty documents, such as the constitution of the U.S.S.R. that also promise rights such as free speech. “But, as Soviet citizens learned, paper rights are worthless in the absence of mechanisms to hold rules to account.”

        That got me thinking about corporate vision and values statements. They often promise so many wonderful things – attention to diversity and inclusion, trust, teamwork, and so forth – but that’s where it often ends. The organizations might live by some of these values when it is convenient, or until conditions change. (Do you remember Enron, the company that became a poster child for corporate malfeasance? Run a Google search on “Enron’s values” and you will find one of the most inspiring set of values statements you could ever hope to read.) Here is a taste of what they wrote:

        Respect – We treat others as we would like to be treated.

        Integrity – We work with customers and prospects openly, honestly, and sincerely.

        I have never seen a serious enforcement component to well-meaning values statements. (Here is where I would love to be proven wrong. Please comment if you know of organizations that back their stated values with “rule of law.”)

        If you are thinking of creating a new set of values statements (or are a consultant who is going to help a client take on that task), don’t get swept up in the moment of creation. Talking about the possibility of bringing lofty ideals to life can be heady. And that’s great. But consider demanding that equal attention be paid to enforcement. Remind yourselves of the Magna Carta.

        How You Can Tell When People Are For or Against You

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        (#11 in The Energy Bar series)

        When I talk to clients about the importance of knowing whether their ideas are going over or not, many of my clients agree, but ask, “How can you tell?”

        The late Kathie Dannemiller facilitated planning meetings of 500 or more people. She told me that she looked for “the shift”. That’s when the energy in the room shifted from indifferent or hostile to interested and willing. Kathie was a no-nonsense person, so woo-woo was not part of her approach to things. Yet she said that she could always just tell when it happened.

        She told me that younger colleagues would often whisper to her, “It just happened, didn’t it?”

        That information usually is right in front of us.  But when we are paying attention to our slides, our notes, wondering if the A/V set-up will work like it’s supposed to, or if the guest speaker will make it in time, it’s really hard to pay attention to people’s reactions simultaneously.  (Take a look at my blog post, How Gorillas and Parasols Mess Up Meetings.

        Here is an easy way to get better at reading the room.

        Start with someone else’s planning meeting. This gives you the luxury of sitting back and watching. Without all the responsibilities that go with running meetings, you’ll start to see things you may never  noticed before. As the eminent philosopher, Yogi Berra, said, “You can observe a lot just by watching.”

        Note how the audience is reacting. Do they appear engaged — or not?

        • Are they literally or figuratively leaning forward or away?
        • What types of questions are they asking? Are they playing it safe and asking polite questions that won’t rock the boat – or their careers? Are they challenging the leader? Or are they silent?
        • Are they multi-tasking, or even leaving the room?

        Think of their energy as a continuum, constantly moving toward either support or resistance.

        If you do this a few times, I think you’ll become more attuned to the most subtle movement of energy in groups. And that awareness should make it easier to pay attention to people even when you are trying to juggle a lot of stuff.

        If you haven’t seen the 3-minute animated video on The Energy Bar, please take a look. The Energy Bar makes a good lens for looking at what’s going on in meetings of 500, teams of ten, or even that phone call you’ve got with your boss in a few minutes.

        I wish you well.

        Shift the Energy Before It’s Too late

        (#10 in The Energy Bar series)

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        Jim Blasingame (the Small Business Advocate) told me a great story about energy. At age 27, he landed a job in sales with Xerox.  He met with the local head of a manufacturing firm. Jim said his own head “was packed with product, pricing, and strategy.”  He went on to say, “. .. any listening and probing techniques he had learned were no match for the cargo of content” that he was dumping on this guy’s desk.

        The prospective customer stood up while Jim was in mid-fevered-sales-pitch , stretched his arm toward the door, and signaled that the meeting was over. When they got to the door, Mr. K brushed him off by saying, “Well, Jim, you’ve certainly given me the business.”

        But what Jim did next was priceless.

        Jim stood outside that door “. . . with his words detonating in my brain.” He thought for a few moments, and knocked on the exec’s door again. With all the humility he could muster, Jim said, “Mr. K, I am sorry about what just happened. May I please start over?”

        The exec replied, “Hello, Jim – come in and let’s talk about business.”

        Jim continued to work with Mr. K for many years.

        BTW, you can read Jim’s fine and entertaining article about this called Gold Mining Tool of Professional Salespeople.

        Let’s look at this story using The Energy Bar. (Click the link to watch the 3-minute animated video about this tool). Mr. K was probably indifferent or barely interested in seeing a new salesperson. Instead of accepting that’s where the energy was, Jim dumped his “cargo of content” on this executive acting as if the prospect was actually interested in Jim or what he was selling.

        On quick reflection, Jim realized that he had blown it. Now, as a result of that sales call, Mr. K’s energy was probably somewhere far over on the resistance side. Unless Jim did something differently, he might never see that potential customer again.

        By acknowledging that he had blown it, he opened the door to further conversation. Had he done anything else: waited a week and called again or sent a brochure about a product he had forgotten to mention, he would have just made matters worse. Being contrite allowed Mr. K to be generous and forgiving. And that winning combination of good energy on both sides was the start of a strong working relationship.

        Jim knew what to do. He knew how to listen and probe for more information. What saved him was his ability to quickly realize that he alone caused the resistance, and took the risk of immediately taking responsibility for what happened and asking for forgiveness. This allowed Mr. K’s energy to shift. (Didn’t make it shift, but allowed it to shift.) As Yogi Berra may have said, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”

        Why Don’t People Tell Their Bosses the Truth?

        (#9 in The Energy Bar series)

        the-energy-bar_small

        There is one major reason why people don’t tell you the truth: they aren’t idiots. (You might want to write that down.)

        A senior manager in a small privately-owned company told me they would warn new hires to never criticize the owner’s ideas in a meeting. But, some enthusiastic newbies didn’t listen. They wanted to make their mark, show their worth, and that was pretty much the last anyone ever saw of them.

        Even if you’re different than that boss, stories like that tend to be deeply embedded into the survival portion of our brains. That part of the brain dredges up our parents admonition — better safe than sorry.

        The legendary film producer, Samuel Goldwyn once said, “I want people to tell me the truth, even if it costs them their jobs.”  Even when people believe you are sincere in wanting to hear the truth, they still think, “It’s better to be safe.” They may not believe they will get fired, but they might imagine a career of mind-numbing assignments in dreadful locations.

        Let’s say that you truly do want to hear the truth.  Here are a couple of things you can do.

        1. Use The Energy Bar with your own team, and discuss a key stakeholder such as that department down the hall that you find challenging. Since you are talking about people who are NOT in the room, it will probably be easier for all of you to speak more openly. C’mon, isn’t it easy to talk about people when they can’t hear us? Admit it, it’s fun – and it’s easy.

        Two important things can happen if you follow the steps in applying The Energy Bar. First, you will probably begin to see ways that you and your team can work more effectively with those people down that hall.

        But the second reason may be even more important. Your team is watching you. You are being tested. They look for your reactions – level of snark, furrowed brow, smiles, interest and curiosity in the ideas of others, and so on. If they like what they see, they are likely to put a toe in the water next week. And, if they don’t hear the theme music from Jaws, they might go in even deeper next time.

        1. Use The Energy Bar to discuss a topic that is important to you and your team. Ask people on your own team to imagine that the Energy Bar extends across the room. Ask each person – including yourself – to stand on a spot that marks the level of energy needed to make this project a success. Discuss your individual choices. (Remember, you are still being tested.)

        Then, each person moves to where his or her own energy is today with regard to that particular project.

        Discuss this. During the discussion, listen deeply, and try to understand what they are telling you without trouncing on their opinions. Hard to do, I know, but it will begin to make it easier for people to talk candidly with you.

        Here is a link to the 3-minute animated video that describes The Energy Bar and a few steps that can help you put it into action today.

         

        I wish you well.

        PS Do you need convincing that seeking people’s truth (as they see it)? Please read Hal Gregersen’s piece Make It OK for Employees to Challenges Your Idea in the BHR blog.

        Adding Life to Conference Calls

        (#8 in The Energy Bar series)

        Conference calls can be deadly, although they do provide great opportunities to increase your skills at Candy Crush and Spider Solitaire.

        People tune out when they don’t think they need to be tuned in. That seems obvious, doesn’t it? But think of all the hours you’ve wasted wondering why you were forced to be on conference calls.

        Here’s what to do.

        Rule 1: Each person must know why he or she is asked to be on this call and what you expect from them. Do you want their ideas? Critique? Approval? Be clear about what you need.

        Rule 2: Tell them how to prepare for the call. Do you want them to read something? Think about something? Be prepared to offer ideas?

        Rule 3: Demand their involvement during the call.

        “Jens, what’s your reaction to the proposal that we shift marketing from Brussels to Copenhagen?” It should only take a couple of dead silences for the group to get the message that they need to be awake and engaged during this meeting.

        Call on people, not to put them on the spot, but to hear that they think.

        Rule 4: Talk a little and listen a lot. A conference call should be short on explanation and long on conversation. Once people start to think, “I don’t need to hear that part,” they’ll begin to tune out.

        Don’t be afraid of silence. Ask a question, then shut up! Two seconds of silence may feel a lot longer. Even if it does seem like an eternity, try to keep the duct tape over your mouth for a little while longer.

        Rule 5: Keep the phone lines open. Do not mute people. (I was on a call once, when someone muted her line, not realizing that we would hear music – and bad music at that.) I’d rather hear background noises than speak into a telecom void. This leads to the next rule.

        Rule 6: Keep the meeting small. Imagine that these people are sitting around a table with you. The larger the group, the easier it is for people to tune out. This links back to Rule 1 – people need to know that their voice is critical to the success of this phone meeting.

        Rule 7: Send them something visual that helps people stay focused. This could be an agenda, a chart, a mind map, and so forth. (Hint: a large PowerPoint deck filled with talking points is not likely to cut it.)

        Rule 8: Keep the meeting as short as possible. If it is a complex set of issues, then schedule a series of short meetings. I find that 30-minute meetings usually work well, but 60-minute meetings can push the limits of human endurance.

        Rule 9: Find out how you did. Ask a question or two about how the meeting went and get their suggestions for future meetings. Duct tape can be real handy when you ask for feedback. If you listen to that feedback, your phone meetings should get better – and people start to learn that you want to hear what they have to say.

        Rule 10: Follow-up on actions or promises that were made on the call.

        Click here if you’d like to see the 3-minute animated video on The Energy Bar.

        There is a comment box below this post, please add your own rules for conference calls or tell us why you disagree with my ten rules.  (Some of you will surely disagree with Rule 5, so I’d love to hear your suggestions.)

        How Can I Tell if People Are Going to Support or Resist Me?

        (#7 in The Energy Bar series)

        Although The Energy Bar is a simple and practical tool — some people watch the three-minute video and put it to use immediately — others get stuck because they don’t know how to use it.  Over the next couple of weeks, I am going to address the three big questions I being asked.

        The first questions is: “How can I tell where people’s energy is today?  I don’t know if they are going to support my idea or resist it.”

        It all begins with what I call “the list”. This list must include the reasons why people might support or resist whatever it is you are trying to promote.  Here are three simple and quick ways to gather that information.

        1. Coffee with Joe. (Joe can be either gender.) Joe is like a human barometer. He just knows what’s going on. You can go to Joe and ask, “What’s the word on the street about this project?” And the Joe or Jos of the world will tell you. You may not like what you hear, but you’ll hear it loud and all-too-clearly. These people are invaluable if you allow yourself to listen to them.
        2. Hang out. In the classic book, In Search of Excellence, Tom Peters and Robert Waterman found that better leaders tended to apply MBWA- management by walking around. These leaders did not walk around with an agenda. They went on “listening tours.” They were available, and people talked to them.
        3. Conduct a quick anonymous survey.

        Look carefully at what people are saying about support and resistance.

        If you’ve read Beyond the Wall of Resistance or Why Don’t You Want What I Want?, you may recall the three levels of support and resistance that I identify. If not, the short article, Why Resistance Matters is a quick introduction.  Or, read the free e-book, The Magic List, I explain those three levels, and I how you how to create a simple 4-question survey to find out where people’s energy is today.

        Stay tuned for answers to the other two questions:

        • How can I tell if their energy moved?
        • What are good away to shift energy from resistance to support?

        If you’d like to watch the short animated video, here is the link to The Energy Bar.

         

        How Gorillas and Parasols Mess Up Meetings

        (#6 in The Energy Bar series)

        You may know this story: researchers asked groups to count how often a team passed the ball to other members of their own basketball team. Pretty simple. They knew how to count, so they did pretty well at this simple task. But many of them missed seeing a gorilla walk onto the court, look at the camera, grunt, and walk off. Others tried the same experiment using a woman carrying a parasol. Still, many people only saw that they were looking for. (I know this seems too unbelievable to be true, but the experiment has been replicated many times. In fact, versions of it are probably going on in your organization right now.)

        Imagine you’re in a meeting that is not going your way. A common response is to double-down and talk more, show more slides, and go into selling mode. If you weren’t so dead set on getting your point across, you just might have noticed the not-so-subtle appearance of a gorilla in your midst.

        We do better when we expand our attention to include more than just the story we want to tell.

        As you may know, I have been developing a really simple tool called The Energy Bar. It gives people a way to focus on more than just their own sales pitch.

        Please give it a try. I think it’s got a lot going for it. 1. It’s free, 2. It takes hardly any time to use, and 3. it can improve our ability to engage with and influence others. I know this because I am using the tool too.

        Here is a link to The Energy Bar. 

        And please let me know how it works for you. Thanks.

        Rick