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*:

  1. Bad before good.
  2. Mistakes before successes.
  3. 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?

Skillful noticing:

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?”

* “Bad is Stronger than Good