asyafikj

Why good ideas die..and a simple approach to saving them

In Uncategorized on January 21, 2011 at 4:52 am

 

Part 2

24 Attacks and 24 Responses

Here is a list and discussion of the 24 attacks that have been used quite commonly. As you will see, they all draw on one or more strategies based on confusion, fear mongering, death-by-delay, or ridicule and character assassination. There are many more slight variations on these 24, but these two dozen seem to be the most basic and confounding. There is also a response to each of the attacks which will not silence valid criticism, but will help stop verbal bullets from killing good ideas.

#1 "We’ve been successful, why change?!"

Attack:

We’ve never done this in the past and things have always worked out OK.

Response:

True. But surely we have all seen that those who fail to adapt eventually become extinct.

#2 "The only problem is not enough money."

Attack:

Money is the issue, not _____ (computers, product safety, choice of choir songs, etc).

Response:

Extra money is rarely what builds truly great ventures or organizations.

#3 "You exaggerate the problem."

Attack:

You are exaggerating. This is a small issue for us if it is an issue at all.

Response:

To the good people who suffer because of this problem, it certainly doesn’t look small.

#4 "You’re saying we’ve failed??!!"

Attack:

If this is a problem, then what you are telling us is that we have been doing a lousy job. That’s insulting!

Response:

No, we’re suggesting that you are doing a remarkably good job without the needed tools (systems, methods, laws, etc) which, in our proposal, you will have.

#5 "What’s the hidden agenda?"

Attack:

It’s clear you have a hidden agenda and we would prefer that you take it elsewhere.

Response:

Not fair! Just look at the track record of the good folks behind this proposal! (And why would you even suggest such a thing?)

#6 "What about this, and that, and that (etc.)?"

Attack:

Your proposal leaves too many questions unanswered. What about this and that, and this and that, and…

Response:

All good ideas, if they are new, raise dozens of questions that cannot be answered with certainty.

#7 "No good! It doesn’t go far enough" (or, "It goes too far")

Attack:

Your proposal doesn’t go nearly far enough.

Response:

Maybe, but our idea will get us started moving in the right direction, and do so without further delay.

#8 "You have a chicken and egg problem."

Attack:

You can’t do A without doing B, yet you can’t do B without doing A. So the plan won’t work.

Response:

Well actually, you can do a little bit of A which allows a little bit of B which allows more A which allows more of B, and so on.

#9 "Sounds like ‘killing puppies’ to me!"

Attack:

Your plan reminds me of a thing disgusting and terrible (insert totalitarianism, organized crime, insanity, or dry rot…)

Response:

Look, you know it isn’t like that. A realistic comparison might be…

#10 "You’re abandoning our values."

Attack:

You are abandoning our traditional values.

Response:

This plan is essential to uphold our traditional values.

#11 "It’s too simplistic to work."

Attack:

Surely you don’t think a few simple tricks will solve everything?

Response:

No – it’s the combination of your good work and some new things that, together, can make a great advance.

#12 "No one else does this!"

Attack:

If this is such a great idea, why hasn’t it been done already?

Response:

There really is a first time for everything and we do have a unique opportunity.

#13 "You can’t have it both ways!"

Attack:

Your plan says X and Y, but they are incompatible. You can’t have both!

Response:

Actually, we didn’t say X or Y—although, I grant you, it may have sounded that way. We said A and B, which are not incompatible.

#14 "Aha! You can’t deny this!"

Attack:

I’m sorry – you mean well, but look at this problem you’ve clearly missed! You can’t deny the significance of this issue!

Response:

No one can deny the significance of the issue you have raised, and, yes, we haven’t explored it. But every potential problem we have found so far has been readily solved. So in light of what has happened again and again and again, I am today confident that this new issue can also be handled, just like all the rest.

#15 "To generate all these questions and concerns, the idea has to be flawed."

Attack:

Look at how many different concerns there are! This can’t be good!

Response:

Actually, many the questions mean we are engaged, and an engaged group both makes better decisions and implements them more successfully.

#16 "Tried it before – didn’t work."

Attack:

We tried that before and it didn’t work.

Response:

That was then. Conditions inevitably change [and what we propose probably isn’t exactly what was tried before]

#17 "It’s too difficult to understand."

Attack:

Too many of our people will never understand the idea and, inevitably, will not help us make it happen.

Response:

Not a problem. We will make the required effort to convince them. It’s worth the effort to do so.

#18 "This is not the right time."

Attack:

Good idea, but it’s the wrong time. We need to wait until this other thing is finished (or this other thing is started, or the situation changes in a certain special way).

Response:

The best time is almost always when you have people excited and committed to make something happen. And that’s now.

#19 "It’s too much work."

Attack:

This seems too hard! I’m not sure we are up for it.

Response:

Hard can be good. A genuinely good new idea, facing time consuming obstacles, can both raise our energy level and motivate us to eliminate wasted time.

#20 "Won’t work here, we’re different!"

Attack:

It won’t work here because we are so different.

Response:

Yes it’s true, we’re different, but we are also very much the same.

#21 "It puts us on a slippery slope."

Attack:

You’re on a slippery slope leading to a cliff. This small move today will lead to disaster tomorrow.

Response:

Good groups of people—all the time– use common sense as a guard rail to keep them from sliding into disaster.

#22 "We can’t afford this."

Attack:

The plan may be fine but we cannot do it without new sources of money.

Response:

Actually, most important changes are achieved without new sources of money.

#23 "You’ll never convince enough people."

Attack:

It will be impossible to get unanimous agreement with this plan.

Response:

You are absolutely right. That’s almost never possible, and that’s OK.

#24 "We’re not equipped to do this."

Attack:

We don’t really have the skills or credentials to pull this off!

Response:

We have much of what we need and we can and will get the rest.

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