Work with True Believers – Smile and Ignore the Rest

Someone who doesn’t believe in your vision never helps you achieve it. 



Don’t waste time convincing unbelievers to support an effort they understand, but don’t believe in. 

Work with true believers.

Encourage weak believers.

Ignore unbelievers.

One passionate unbeliever has more power than many half-hearted believers.

Dos and don’ts for dealing with unbelievers:

  1. Listen politely and ignore unbelievers. Nothing an unbeliever says will move the agenda forward. Their goal is to slow and stop progress. 
  2. Appeasement is death to vision. Never appease a team member who doesn’t believe in the future you’re working to create.
  3. Throw gas on pockets of energy. Smile and work around foot dragging unbelievers.
  4. Distraction destroys progress. Change threatens the status quo. Don’t slow down to please unbelievers. They won’t be happy until you fail.
  5. Distract detractors. Give unbelievers assignments that move them out of the way.
  6. Don’t pollute a team of true believers with even one unbeliever. Destruction is easier than construction. It may seem kind to invite a resistor on the team. It’s death.
  7. Work with allies who have position and authority.
  8. If the person at the top doesn’t believe in the change, convince them, distract them, remove them, or work around them. If it’s not worth bleeding for, don’t do it.
  9. True believers may worry about appeasing unbelievers. Their ‘kindness’ is sincere, but destructive.
  10. Unbelievers complain when change gains momentum. They’ll ask you what you are doing about other problems and challenges. Smile and IGNORE THEM.

Lost momentum is seldom regained.

2 questions:

Success requires feedback. When receiving counsel, correction, or criticism, ask:

  • Does this person believe in the vision?
  • How does this counsel add fuel to the fire? When it comes to change, slowing down is death.

How might leaders lead change successfully?

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