8. October 2022

How to persuade the unpersuadable?

Often in organizational transformation situations, powerful people who look unpersuadable need to be persuaded. I found Adam Grant’s article in HBR interesting as he describes how people at Apple were able to change Steve Jobs’ unpersuadable views. I like the proposed solutions versus traits of people who are difficult to convince.

  1. Overcoming the tendency of arrogance by asking, “can you explain?” Trying to explain something complex can be challenging and often humbling. It creates an opening in an overconfident belief system.

  2. Break through the wall of stubbornness by “playing pitch and catch.” Rather than pitching fully formed concepts, make it more of a game of back and forth. Research shows that asking questions instead of giving answers can overcome people’s defensiveness.

  3. Circumvent narcissism starts with “disarming by compliment.” The key is that the praise should be in a different area than the area under discussion. We all have many identities, and when we feel secure in one area, we become more open to accepting vulnerable areas.

  4. When you are dealing with an argumentative person, it is better to “stand up, and rebound”, keep arguing and keep evolving the proposed idea. This is because disagreeable people are energized.

What are your strategies?

The Power of Co-Elevation

In a transformation, it is key to create high-performing teams that cut across reporting line structures. In this context, I very much like Keith Ferrazzi’s

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