3 Ways to Overcome “That Won’t Work”
Naysayers are often right – especially when they’re roadblocks.
“What works,” emerges AFTER you try.
We have a delusional ability to believe we’re right when, in truth, we have nothing to support our confidence. This is especially true when it comes to knowing what OTHER people should or shouldn’t do.
Experts at what won’t work:
How many of your teammates love noticing what won’t work? New ideas are met with a chorus of, “That won’t work.” It’s like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is having a bad day.
We’re experts at noticing*:
- Bad before good.
- Mistakes before successes.
- Problems before opportunities.
Noticing “What won’t work” is useful, as long as you don’t stop there.
Victim or victor:
If you’re frustrated, but not working to make improvements, you’re a victim. Leaders improve stuff.
Where are the women and men who risk making things better?
It takes experience and skill to notice what isn’t working. Novices rush toward the abyss oblivious to danger. Skillful leaders have enough wisdom to notice poor team dynamics, for example. But noticing isn’t enough.
Noticing is the beginning of intervention for real leaders.
Skillful noticing is a means to an end. The goal is improvement.
Passive noticing gives birth to frustration, helplessness, and victimhood.
3 ways to overcome “That won’t work.”:
#1. Create an environment where noticing GOOD is part of the mix. I’ve started saying, “Tell me something good.” People look at me like I’m nuts. Just keep doing it.
#2. Teach people that it takes more skill and intelligence to make positive suggestions than it does to point out, “What won’t work.”
#3. Don’t answer critics. Say, “Alright, I see what won’t work. Tell me something that WILL work.”
How are you answering the natural tendency to notice, “What won’t work?”
How are you answering the natural tendency to notice, “What won’t work? By not putting ourselves in the position at the beginning, “research and investigate what will work”, can keep us away from ” what won’t work”. Experience has taught me this lesson time and time again, more importantly what has helped me become better is “listening to everything that is being said” before we insert “that won’t work”, helps keep “the famed foot insertion in ones mouth” from making a misconception! We really need to know the facts!
We are experiencing the “Won’t Work” right now. We created a new department that is the customer facing office to 3 partner offices. The partner offices do not report to the same VP. This makes it difficult because the partner offices at seem to focus on what we shouldn’t do instead of helping us build better was to deliver customer service. Unfortunately it is an exhausting uphill battle. We ARE trying to build bridges.
I also usually try to find out why the individuals thinks that won’t work. Sometimes the reason is legit, like in the case of legal or regulatory requirements. Most of the time, it’s not. Challenge the status quo.
I am an advocate of Appreciative Inquiry and a destroyer of the word or phrase “Should” or “Your Should”. Appreciative Inquiry by Dr. David Cooperrider and his cadre of AI Warriors has made me a believe and convert to looking for and at the “Good” in organizational practices and behavioral history. I have also become a student of the bastion of various Intelligences: EI, CI, SI, GI, BI, MI, INI and more. This is an interesting dialogue which may be too long for the allowed space. However, the message is to look for the positives and build upon them. While building on the positives the negative can be replaced and smothered out in accelerating brighter futures that begin NOW!
“Noticing is the beginning of intervention for real leaders”. WOW and that is how Monday is going to roll in this house. Thank you sir.
I learned a great approach from a colleague several years ago and have since instilled it into all of my teams: “If you’re going to point out a problem, you need to suggest a solution”. It doesn’t have to be THE solution, or even a fully thought out solution, but it 1) keeps feedback productive, and 2) keeps the tone of the discussion positive rather than negative.
Totally agree, I learned a long time ago if you have a concern with the direction of how a plan is going you had better have a better idea of how to get it done. NEVER complain without a suggestion of how to fix it. Otherwise you are just a know it all who cant think on their own and you never want to be “that guy”.
Good research through experience. This is the reason why top management is paid more than the middle management.