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Leaning to People

The Road to Damascus Engagement Strategy

One of the delegates on one of my recent Agile workshops, who came from the Health Sector, spoke of her finding one of the most techno-phobic clinicians.

So she decided to appoint him as her business ambassador. !

Initially, this seemed to me like asking Basil Fawlty to lead a customer care programme.

She said it was difficult at first, but this stakeholder was much more influential with his peers when he had been won over. Everybody could see the conversion.

I can imagine.

This Road to Damascus’ engagement strategy seems to be high risk one. And it is risky unless there are a number of things in place in the change leader and the sceptical customer: genuine affinity, honesty and trust. Often the objections in such a relationship can be much more openly and honestly expressed. At the same time, these objections are discussed with some mutual respect.

This can open the way for a breakthrough. This is far less the case, perhaps, where there is a stakeholder who feels they should or ought to be an advocate of this, but they don’t really believe in it or cannot afford the time to engage with the change. In such cases, the objection might not be surfaced early enough.

If we shorten the distance between us and them, an agreement becomes more likely.

As with my advice recently about dealing with the difficult, this is a case where the aim is for both parties to look together at the objections or difficulties together. The objections are not personalised.

If you can shorten the distance between you and the other person most obstacles can be overcome.

What have been your experiences of winning over sceptics? How is this done? Leave a comment at the bottom of this post. 

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