May 8, 2011

Buy In .. Kotter strikes again

Had this wonderful idea.. which never got implemented ? Got shot down by colleagues and friends whom you thought were allies ? Sure you don't want the experience to repeat?

John P. Kotter, in his latest book 'Buy in'( HBR 2010) gives some practical advice on obtaining buy in. Like one of his previous books ,' The ice berg is melting' this is also written partially in the form a story. The focus is on meetings and how good proposals get derailed.The author(s) hopes the book would enable a proposer to get people to buy into a new idea

Based on the ways people tend to behave Kotter has identified 8 'typical' characters and their approach in meetings
  • Pompus Meani [ Self importance above being good-wants to show power]
  • Heidi agenda [Has an undisclosed personal agenda for opposing]
  • Avoidus riski
  • Spaci Cadetus
  • Allis Wellis
  • Lookus Smarti
  • Divertus Attenti
  • Bendi Wendi [Blows with the wind]
According to the author these people kill ideas using one of the following tactics
  • Fear mongering (raise anxiety)
  • Delay
  • Confusion
  • Ridicule (or character assassination)
Kotter has characterised these attacks into 24 types and also suggested a response. See attached table

The authors suggest the following
  • Don't be afraid of distracters.Handled correctly,they can actually help you!
    • Don't scheme to keep potential opponents,even the sneakiest attackers,out of the discussion.Let them in.Let them shoot at you.Even encourage them to shoot at you
  • Always respon in ways that are simple,straight forward, and honest
    • Don't try to overcome attacks with tons of data;logic and yet more logic;or lists of reasons why unfair,uninformed,or sneaky attacks are wrong,wrong,wrong.Instead do what might seem to be the oppoiste
  • Show respect for everyone
    • Do not try to crush attackers with ridicule,counterattacks or condescension,eben when it seems as though people deserve it,even when a part of you really want to do just that,and you have the skills to do so
  • Watch the audience(not just the people shooting at you)
  • Anticipate and prepare for attacks in advance

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