5 for 5 blog – Stop banging your head against the wall

21 May


Leading change is hard. But often, we find that our initiative meets sharp resistance. An immovable object. Like banging your head against a wall.

The problem is not the first encounter but repeated, Incessantly banging into the wall. May be the team builds an even bigger battering ram only to see it dashed to pieces.

Banging your head (or the collective heads of your team) against a wall isn’t the answer. As the leader, you need to take a step way back and come up with another approach.

One area to reevaluate is the story you are telling. In this year’s Leadercast, Donald Miller explained customers (clients) won’t buy your product or service until they see it as their story. Too often as he explains, leaders are only telling their own story, not a story that the client can embrace as their own.

As an example in the past, we were trying to influence a highly technical and profitable team to adopt a savings proposal. We were repeatedly blown off and dismissed. Cost savings was important to our team but it never phased the client. Only when we reengaged them to talk about business continuity and the potential risks did we finally get their attention.

Getting out of the banging your head against the wall cycle also requires empathy. If a client doesn’t need your service as offered, empathy allows you to see what is important in the client’s eyes, mind, and heart to build the relationship on different footing.

In the example I mentioned here, the client could not afford supply interruption so.building our collaboration on protecting their key product lines and delivering on that promise began to slowly build the trust and credibility that opened the door, even a small crack, to broader discussions about how to enable the business.

Sadly, pride is often a major cause of head banging. When we insist that someone do it our way or we are inflexible to see the opportunity in tailoring our approach it can lead to frustration and ultimately resentment.  Be a leader that brings empathy to the table and tells your story in a way that allows the client to see themselves as the lead in their own story. Stop banging your head against the wall and create the relationship where your clients invite you in the through the door.

Here are this week’s 5 for 5 articles:

Being Ready for a Crisis – by Melanie Butler, Sloane Menkes and Marissa Michael

This Personal Kanban Approach is The Simplest Way to Give Up Multitasking – by Thomas Oppong

Patrick Rhone is Nonline – by Cal Newport

Say one thing at a time – by Seth Godin

Why You Need “White Space” in Your Daily Routine – by Jocelyn Glei

all the best, kevin