In my last entry (see Persuasion) I mentioned a key challenge that I was choosing to face: persuade a reluctant key stakeholder that our methodology and resulting strategic plan is the best feasible course of action given the circumstances. I discussed the various persuasion tactics and how I am going to use two: seek the aid others with influence over him, and inspire.
Today, my deputy and I tried the inspire approach. We appeal to him as having a key role to play in the implementation. Then we listen to him voice his concerns. We showed how we captured them into our strategic plan and how we’ve either addressed them or identified future work.
So, did it work?
To answer this, I need to backtrack a few days as I was preparing for how to have this conversation. As I reflected on my previous entry and was sketching my plans, I realized that I did not have defined a success criterion. So, to answer the question, “Did it work?” requires defining the success criterion. So, what constitutes success?
For this I looked at one of the earlier persuasion options: consult. What it and inspire had in connection was a validation of the individual, whether it is values or concerns. Therefore, I set my success criterion to be his acknowledgement that we were recognizing his values and concerns in our methodology and strategic plan.
After three hours of conversing about my team approach and how we are integrating his values and concerns into our approach, he still not agree with us. However, when I asked him, “Have we integrated your values and concerns?” his answer was yes, and that we did a good job of it. Nevertheless, he still disagreed with us.
In the big picture, I do believe that the work of my team has resulted in the best, feasible course of action that all of us are committed to implementing and can live with. We do face challenges in implementation that may make refinements in the details that are better handled later anyway. With where we are and what we’ve accomplished, I’m ready to proceed to the next level.
Successful today? You bet!