Maneuver around obstacles and resistance

Washington, DC - Too often I find myself trying to take on an obstacle or resistance head on. I could be trying to convince one of my daughters that she should follow my (brilliant) advice. Or I could be in a meeting with a prospect or client. I also know that this is one of the most common occurrences in business and management. Here are some tips to help you maneuver around that obstacle.

  1. Is the obstacle real or only a figment of your imagination? I’ve often imagined some future resistance that turned out to be just that, my imagination.
  2. Can you avoid a frontal assault? Say you’re trying to convince someone that they should do something. Why not do so gradually by presenting examples and evidence of its advantages rather than a full on attack?
  3. Do you find yourself trying to argue a point rationally all the time? Instead provide an emotional hook to show the psychological benefits of following your proposed course of action.
  4. Avoid confronting or criticizing people in front of others. People don’t like to lose face, so it’s always better to argue a point or engage in criticism in private.
  5. “Soften” up your target by providing positive feedback and encouragement before bringing up criticism.
  6. Is the obstacle or resistance even worth the fight? A basic military tactic is called “picket and bypass.” This means you go around minor centres of resistance while keeping watch on them to ensure they don’t catch you off guard as you go past them.
  7. Remember the most important principle of military strategy: selection and maintenance of the aim. Keep your ultimate objective and priorities in mind as you implement your plans.
  8. Resistance often crumbles in the face of overwhelming force. If you need to eliminate an obstacle to your success, use maximum resources at your disposal to neutralize it.
  9. No plan survives contact with the enemy (reality). Adjust your plans and implementation of them as you advance toward your goals.
  10. Accept that there will always be naysayers and competitors. Accept also that you can’t predict everything ahead of time. Keep resources in reserve to overcome and adjust to unforeseen circumstances.

Richard Martin is the Master Strategist and Leadership Catalyst. As an expert on strategy and leadership, Richard brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to exploit change, maximize opportunity, and minimize risk.

© 2014 Richard Martin.

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