Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Change Agents

Here's one I've stepped in a few times. Post on Tom Peters (!) blog on the trouble Larry Summers is having at Harvard. He's reportedly about to face another "No confidence" vote.

I think the substance of the Harvard debate is beyond silly, but it brings up a good point about how you go about introducing change -- particularly when you don't have the power to decree things as you'd like.

I've always found a soft approach much more productive. Before introducing a new idea as a take it or leave it proposition, take the time to sit down with the key decision-makers and talk through a "wacky idea." It gives them a chance to take some ownership of the idea -- most likley they'll be adding to it and making it better anyway. That severely reduces the resistance when you finally do introduce.

Yes, it requires swallowing some pride and sharing credit, but it's certainly better than the alternative.

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