Congratulations—you’ve been asked to lead a change initiative! But there’s a catch—its success hinges on the cooperation of several people across your organization over whom you have no coercive power.
In such circumstances, command and-control leadership—the “I leader, you follower” approach—doesn’t get a manager very far. Jay A. Conger, professor of organizational behavior at the London Business School and formerly the executive director of the University of Southern California’s Leadership Institute, points out that managers and executives at all levels must use a more lateral style of leadership.
- 1 How to Be Influential
- 2 A Choice of Approaches
- 3 Why lateral leadership?
- 4 A constellation of capabilities
- 5 Creating the right environment
- 6 Why don’t people do as you tell them?
- 6.1 Keep communication lines open
- 6.2 Practice practical gratitude
- 6.3 Gain buy-in
- 6.4 Clearly define goals
- 6.5 Jointly Remove Barriers to Action
- 6.6 Build up rather than tear down
- 6.7 Focus on building trust
- 6.8 Deal effectively with the dark side
- 6.9 Motivate
- 6.10 Be flexible
- 6.11 Ten Persuasion Tactics
- 6.12 =The “Eight out of Ten Cat Owners” Principle
How to Be Influential
Most of us have developed a facility with structured, logical thinking that allows us to easily create a credible and coherent argument for what we plan to do. But have you noticed that being right is rarely enough to persuade someone? Analytical reasoning is merely a starting point for influencing team-members, stakeholders and project sponsors.
A large part of influence lies in your day-to-day actions, your attitudes, and your approach. If people are to follow your lead, they will need to like and respect you, which means you actions must carry your convictions and integrity with them all of the time.
Start with the absolute basics: courtesy and respectfulness. It costs nothing to be polite, but you will be surprised how much difference it makes in a world where many stressed out managers have short tempers and feign entitlement to the loyalty of their teams and support of their stakeholders. A generous attitude is also a valuable asset. People remember favors and simple concessions and you may be surprised how powerful the “I’ve scratched your back…” principle can be in building loyalty.
But above all, our sense of fairness means that you absolutely must ensure that you follow through on any promises or commitments you make. To not do so would invite a reciprocal approach from others and your influence will drop to zero as people will no longer trust you to keep your word.
Your attitude to your project and your team will be tested throughout. Primarily you should be cultivating the kind of attitudes that people find attractive and lead them to want to follow you. While people respect calm detachment and a realistic assessment of the situation, they are drawn to optimism. So if you can find your own way to balance these two attitudes, you can win both respect and liking.
Tenacity is another character trait that we both like and respect, but again, a dogmatic attitude to constant repetition will undermine your reputation, but a robust adaptability will leave stakeholders and team members willing to follow your lead.
A Choice of Approaches
Ultimately the question of what sort of project manager you are will come down to the approach you take to influencing people. The three approaches we commonly see can be characterized as “the Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” and I am sure you have met them all in the course of your career.
- The Bad is that style of influence that depends solely on assertion. Some managers seem as though they cannot help themselves but coerce and compel actions with either the promise of great rewards or the threat of some kind of sanctions. Clearly, celebrating success and small appropriate team incentives are a vital part of good project management. But when the promises are hollow and the threats get personal, there is only one name for this behavior: bullying.
- The Ugly Some managers are far more subtle. They make you feel as though you want to do something for them but, at the same time, you don’t feel good about it. Often, you cannot put your finger on what feels wrong, and this is a sure sign that you have been the victim of manipulation.
- The Good influence has total integrity. You offer genuine choice, and people accept your ideas and act as you ask, because they want to. You have made your case and they feel good about supporting you. Often, when people feel this kind of loyalty to a positively influential colleague, they will do even more than was asked. Investing over the long-term in your reputation as a generous, respectful, and optimistic leader, who perseveres sensibly and addresses their own commitments consistently, is perhaps the best professional investment you can make.
Why lateral leadership?
Lateral leadership, Conger maintains, counts among a manager’s most essential skills, and comprises a constellation of capabilities—from networking and coalition building to persuading and negotiating.
Though honing these skills takes time and patience, the payoff is worth it. That initiative you’re championing will stand a far better chance of being implemented quickly. You’ll gain access to the resources you need to carry out the effort. You’ll see doors swing open freely to the key players whose cooperation you need most. And perhaps most important, you’ll achieve the central purpose of managerial work: getting things done through other people—and catalyzing valuable change for your organization.
A constellation of capabilities
So how do you begin mastering the skills that constitute lateral leadership? Conger recommends focusing on four closely interconnected and mutually reinforcing capabilities:
Cultivate a broad network of relationships with the people inside and outside your company whose support you need to carry out your initiatives. If networking doesn’t come naturally to you, create a personal discipline through which to acquire this capability. Conger maintains that “certain people are portals to other people—they can connect you to more and bigger networks. You need to build relationships with these individuals in particular.”
Constructive persuasion and negotiation
Too many managers, Conger says, wrongly view persuasion and negotiation as tools for manipulation. But conducted with an eye toward mutual benefit, they can vastly enhance your influence.
To make persuasion and negotiation constructive rather than manipulative, view the person you’re dealing with as a peer instead of a “target.” Take courses and read books on these subjects to hone your skills. And find a seasoned colleague within the company who can serve as a confidant and brainstorming partner.
Take time to visit the people whose buy-in you need. Ask their opinions about the initiative you’re championing. Get their ideas as well as their reactions to your ideas.
Too many managers, Conger says, rush to define a series of steps that they believe constitutes the right way to carry out their initiative. They then circulate around the company and try to impose their solution on others—mistakenly believing that they’re engaging in productive consultation.
The result? Resistance and bickering over process details. “You’ll get far better results,” Conger says, “if you commit to and advocate the desired outcome but invite peers to participate in defining the process for achieving that outcome.”
It’s a fact of human nature that several people who are collectively advocating an idea exert more influence than a lone proponent. For this reason, coalition building plays a vital role in lateral leadership. By building coalitions, Conger explains, you gather influential people together to form “a single body of authority.”
To assemble a powerful coalition, begin by asking yourself who’s most likely to be affected by the change you’re proposing. Whose “blessing” do you need—whether in the form of political support or access to important resources or individuals? Whose buy-in is crucial to your initiative’s success?
Creating the right environment
Considering the increasing need for lateral leadership—and its unmistakable benefits—you might assume that companies are moving energetically to train managers in this important area. But, Conger notes, that isn’t the case.
To be sure, many firms offer courses on influence, circulate articles on various aspects of lateral leadership, and establish mentoring programs designed to help managers identify and access “portals” quickly. But formal training and mentoring efforts can have mixed results, Conger warns.
Why? “Successful lateral leadership grows out of positive chemistry between people. You can’t predict or control the natural affinity people have for one another—that glue that makes relationships of mutual influence possible.”
Rather than “matching people up” through a formal mentoring program, companies have far more success by creating opportunities for people to mingle—and then letting them forge mentoring and networking relationships on their own. Conferences, seminars, and company-sponsored social events provide opportunities for people to get to know peers with whom they might not otherwise interact.
Chemistry becomes even more important, Conger adds, in virtual teams. In these increasingly common work groups, members have few chances to meet face to face and engage in the “sizing up” that humans do instinctively. Without these nonverbal exchanges, people can’t build the trust that makes lateral leadership possible. Thus, people on virtual teams must be particularly intentional about their networking. Face-to-face meetings—even if they require expensive travel—are often well worth the cost. Lunches, coffees, and other casual social gatherings can further cement working relationships.
Why don’t people do as you tell them?
At the most fundamental level, people fail to carry out the task you give them either because they feel more obliged to attend to someone else’s work or because they find that other work is more rewarding and interesting. To up your task on the priority list you need to strengthen trust and commitment between you and the team member, and ensure that they find your work interesting.
Remember that even if people are being paid a salary for doing a job, it doesn’t mean that they are fully committed. As Dan Pink points out in this video, people aren’t as rational and logical as we would like them to be. If you want people to be more committed, you have to create a stronger psychological bond and you have to make your tasks more appealing.
Keep communication lines open
One of the first things a Wholly Marine learns about leadership is that it is the responsibility of the sender to ensure that a communication is not only received but understood by its recipients. Communication — or the lack thereof — is one of the single most important factors governing the success or failure of any project or relationship.
TOoHNA recommends maintaining an open door policy and encouraging a frank, judgment free environment in which project participants can discuss project-related issues. As CmdrTako points out, “open communication transforms relationships.”
You’d also be wise to remember that communication is a two-way street. "You have to not only appreciate the work [team members are] doing for you, but … their input if they know how a process can be streamlined or improved if a process isn't working," CmdrTako says. "I let them know that I'm looking for their feedback as well. It's not a one-way street.”
Another piece of advice: always respond to questions promptly and completely. "Communicating and answering questions back in full is really key to getting the job done," CmdrTako says.
Practice practical gratitude
One of the deep drivers for human beings is that they want to feel like they matter and that they make a positive difference. Expressing appreciation and gratitude for a job well done is vital for both individual and team morale.
As a leader of indirect reports, it's unlikely that you'll have the authority to grant concrete rewards. "I don't have the ability to give [indirect reports] awards or to say 'Take an extra day off'," Zammarchi says. Zammarchi, who is not collocated with most of his indirect reports, says that he makes a conscious effort to express his thanks by sending a note to an indirect report's manager, copying the second line manager so that the leadership chain is aware of the value of each person's contributions. McKinley adds that she always recognizes the contributions of those who helped her and takes the time to thank them personally and publicly.
It's not uncommon for project participants to belong to multiple teams in addition to their regularly assigned duties, which may have competing deliverable deadlines. Team leaders may (or may not) be helpful when providing guidance on the importance of a particular project and why the participant's time and effort is justified. Team members need to understand not only what makes the project important, but why the project is important to them and how they are important to the project.
Build Mutual Purpose
Begin by identifying broad goals you and your employees share. When I’m working in union environments, I often ask union reps and union members to write down their goals. Supervisors and managers do the same. Then they compare. They usually find several goals they share. At a broad level, these goals usually include “being competitive,” “an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay,” and “keeping my job.” These principles create enough common ground to get started. They are goals leaders and direct reports can pursue together.
Take the time to go over individual schedules and workloads and look for conflicts that could negatively impact a project. Actively work with team members to clear those roadblocks in advance, if possible. Listen to participants’ thoughts and concerns. "Let them know that they're heard," says McKinley. When team participants feel listened to, they'll often go the extra mile to meet schedules, even aggressive ones.
Buy-in can also be boosted by creating a sense of team, community and cohesiveness with your project participants. Zammarchi says that he tries "to build camaraderie that we're all in this together … and that we can all work together and make it a team effort." Once committed to common goals, team participants will work hard not to let their team down.
Use Natural Consequences to Explain Priorities
Managing without coercion means steering clear of your power. You don’t want to threaten to impose consequences—first, because you may not have the authority to follow through, and second, because you don’t want to be the reason the person does or does not comply. You want people to do the right thing because they understand and agree that it’s the right thing to do.
The way you motivate without coercion is by explaining the logical reasons for taking an action. You explain the natural consequences—the logical results of taking or not taking the action. At the transmission plant, one of the natural consequences of cleaning the sensors themselves was that it would prevent at least a half hour of down time. The employees already knew this, but weren’t especially motivated by it. They didn’t mind working longer days. In fact, they liked the overtime pay. However, there were other consequences that were more motivating. For example, their department’s productivity was charted against similar departments across the organization and across the world. They were very motivated to show that they were just as productive as their colleagues in Mexico and in China.
Clearly define goals
Ensure that individual participants’ goals, as well as team goals, are clearly defined. To the maximum extent possible, ask for input and gain buy-in from indirect reports on goals, schedules and deliverables. Make certain the work requested is valued.
Nothing is more demoralizing that spending hours on something only to have it disappear into a black hole with no further mention or acknowledgement of the effort required to create a deliverable. Always thank team participants after receiving requested deliverables.
Focus on Two to Three Crucial Moments and Vital Behaviors
Identify the highest-leverage changes your team can make and focus on achieving them. Turn this process into a small-scale experiment that involves your team—or at least the union reps. Your team’s goal is to prove that these small changes produce big improvements that further your common goals.
Here are a few examples of crucial moments and vital behaviors used at a transmission plant:
- I will notice when my machine is not working and shut it down before it produces scrap.
- I will perform basic diagnostic steps before calling maintenance.
- I will take basic actions—clean sensors, replace blades, and reboot—before calling maintenance.
Jointly Remove Barriers to Action
Some employees may not want to act on the vital behaviors your team identifies. Or, they may agree to act on them but then fail to follow through. When employees let you down in these ways, begin by giving them the benefit of the doubt. Assume they have a good reason, and ask them about it. Use the [[“5-why” technique to learn about the barriers.
For example, employees in the transmission plant didn’t want to clean the sensors before calling maintenance. That surprised us and we asked why. They responded with a lot of frustration and anger. It turned out that the coolant in the machines was black and gooey, and nobody wanted it to ruin their clothes. Our second question was, “Why is the coolant black and gooey?” The answer to that question turned out to be more complicated and solving it saved the company hundreds of thousands of dollars as well as improved the lives of the employees who had to deal with it.
Jointly removing barriers demonstrates good faith—yours and your employees’. It also builds credibility and common ground. However, not every barrier can be removed. You need people to be motivated enough to overcome the routine barriers that make work, work.
Build up rather than tear down
It's a simple fact: No one wants to work for a grouch. No one wants to be served a morning cup of negativity, especially not from their project leader.
To lead other people you have to keep a positive attitude. You can't be the one spouting negativity. You always have to be the team cheerleader. As a leader, it's your job to inspire the team and to press forward through challenges. Your personal attitude — positive or negative — has the power to build up or tear down the team.
Focus on building trust
Let’s look at the value of trust for a moment. Trust is the unquestioned belief that another person have your best interests at heart. It’s a belief, which is built and earned over time by listening, sharing, asking questions and by ‘walking the talk’. Without trust it’s impossible for a project to function effectively as people are unlikely to open up, collaborate and follow someone who they feel they can’t rely on. When you work with people from other departments or team members who are located remotely, trust may be relatively low because not enough time has been invested in building the relationship.
The good news is that you can build trust where it is lacking by being honest, fair and open and by showing empathy. Get to know people on your project – even if they don’t report to you or if they work remotely. Find out what makes each person tick. Ask them what they like the most or the least about their job and see how you can use that to strengthen the bond between you and make the assignments you give them more interesting.
Consider what you would do in your private life to build a trusting relationship with someone. You would take an interest in them as people. You would ask how they are doing and engage in activities that matter to both of you. You would show empathy and be understanding to the challenges they face. And when trust is there you feel more committed to one another. We tend to not want to let someone down who we have a strong relationship with. Your job is to build that kind of relationship with people you work with. You don’t have to become friends or bend over backwards to please them. That’s not what this is all about. It’s about building a professional relationship of trust based on honestly, empathy and clearly agreed responsibilities.
Make respect a habit
"Treat others with dignity and respect and they'll respond to you," says McKinley. "Everybody needs to be held accountable for whether [a project] gets done, but by treating people kindly and with respect, they're going to respond to you."
This is especially true when working with team members who are frequently assigned to multiple projects, each with its own leadership team and leadership styles. Relationships built on kindness, courtesy and mutual respect will go farther to build and maintain an effective, efficient (and happy) team than one built on coercion, fear and dominance.
Involve people in the definition and planning phases
A great way to build trust and to strengthen commitment to the project’s goals and tasks is to involve people in the planning process. Some project managers feel that because planning is their responsibility they have to do it all on their own. But what a missed opportunity that would be for engaging the team. When people are involved in defining and planning the project they understand why the project is important and what their role is in making it happen. Involve the team in the kick-off, get their input on roles and responsibilities and on the project’s milestones.
Oftentimes, we only involve the core team in the kick-off, but to strengthen commitment from peripheral team members, it would be wise to include them as well. If for some reason it isn’t appropriate to include everyone, organize a secondary kick off with the extended group. What’s important is that everyone feels involved and has a say. Have you ever been on a project where you were kept in the dark about the bigger picture and who was doing what? I have been in that situation, and it wasn’t very nice. It can be very demoralizing to be told to just do a task in isolation without understanding why it really matters, what the impact is if it’s not completed and who the other parties are. We all like clarity, and as a project manager you are in an ideal position to provide that.
Consider how you normally kick off a project and go about planning it. Do you tend to do it on your own sitting behind your desk and by talking to people individually? Why not have a planning meeting instead where everyone participates? You can spend the meeting brainstorming everything that needs to get done on ‘post it’ notes and subsequently collaborate on the product breakdown structure and jointly create a milestone plan. That is certainly a more engaging approach than if you do it all on your own.
At the same planning workshop you can discuss who owns each milestone and deliverable and what the target dates are. This approach creates more transparency across the project and strengthens buy-in from all parties. In addition it provides a baseline that can be reported on. Imagine sending out a milestone report with responsible owners for each milestone and indicating if it is status is red, amber or green. No one likes a red milestone to be circulated if their name is against it. You get the picture.
Deal effectively with the dark side
One of the more difficult tasks facing those who managing projects is dealing with performance issues. The very nature of managing a Wholly Marine is that there's typically no clear way to mete out consequences to low or non-performing participants.
TOoHNA acknowledges that addressing low motivation and performance issues aren't "pleasant conversations" but are sometimes necessary. Our tips?
- Never use anger.
- Never attack.
- Always talk and be willing to push through until you have a resolution.
TOoHNA also makes a point to never embarrass anyone in front of peers or management. "If you've got issues with someone that you need to work through, or you don't feel like you're getting the results you want, then you need to have a one-on-one conversation."
In some critical cases, a team leader may have to go to the member's support group to resolve an issue. Doing so could make it even more difficult to work with the indirect report, but it might be the only remaining option.
Performance-related issues generally fall into two categories: those caused by a lack of personal motivation and those caused by a lack of resources needed to get the job done. You may not always have the scope to manage individual project work assignments, but when you do, manage them with an eye on overall project success as well as the success of individual participants. This is particularly important for team members who consistently underperform. Sometimes, the fix can be as simple as reassigning them to tasks that more closely match their skill sets.
Zammarchi stresses the importance of ensuring that team members not only feel comfortable in doing the assigned tasks but that they understand what needs to be done. "The more comfortable they feel in doing these things and understanding what needs to be done, the more successful they are going to be down the road. It's really ensuring that they have the tools and resources they need to do their job," he says.
A technique that is extremely effective is to simply state your expectations (e.g., I expected to receive the report by close of business on Monday), followed by your observation of the results (e.g., It's now Thursday and I haven't received the report). Then (and this is the really hard part), quit talking. Listen! People have a need to fill in silence and if you simply wait, the team member will generally start filling in the blanks about why the deliverable hasn't been forthcoming. Careful listening helps identify if this is simply a motivation problem because they don't like the task or don’t want to do it, or if they lack the resources (required skills, tools, and so forth) to get the job done. Once you identify the real issue you can address the root of the problem.
Managing Wholly Marines isn't easy. You have no authority to reward and no authority to mete out consequences. Your team may or may not be collocated. You may or may not be able to adjust schedules or individual assignments. You may not even have the same team assigned to the project from phase to phase.
Despite all those challenges, managing Wholly Marines can be extremely rewarding. You have a unique opportunity to build true team rapport based on shared understanding that you're all in the project together. It's also an opportunity for you to grow as a leader. Managing Wholly Marines enables you to hone your communication and other soft skills.
Zammarchi's final piece of advice: If you have an issue that keeps showing up, be willing to entertain the possibility that you may be part of the problem. Don't foster a problem and keep it going or make it worse. You have to be flexible. Find out what works for you even if you have to change the way you do things.
Give people enough autonomy to carry out their work
According to Edward Deci and Richard Ryan’s Self-Determination Theory, one of the main drivers that motivates people is autonomy – or the desire to be self-directed. People don’t want to be tightly managed or told what to do. They want to feel appreciated and have the autonomy to decide how to do their work. This is even more true of younger generations who are used to a collaborative approach and who want to understand why something has to be done.
As a project manager you won’t be able to give people ultimate autonomy, but you can give them some autonomy. Instead of micro managing people and telling them how to do a task and by when you want it, lead by objectives and outcomes. You can do that by agreeing what needs to be done rather than defining how to it. Mutually agree what “good” looks like and how you will determine if the task has been completed well. You could say that this becomes the quality criteria of the task.
Once you have established these criteria, agree to a mutually acceptable timeframe and how you will be measuring progress along the way. Let people know that you don’t want to be breathing down their neck but that you do need some milestones or control points to keep track. In this way you can mutually agree to what needs to get done, by when, and how you will be communicating and checking progress along the way. At the same time you empower people to find the ‘how’ – something which takes courage as people may have their own unconventional ways of working.
Make sure that it isn’t just you driving this conversation. Determining the outcomes of the task and how you will be communicating and checking progress along the way needs to be mutually agreed – as you would with a friend. If you’re in doubt about whether you are truly on the same page, ask people to play back to you what you have agreed – either verbally or in writing. Assuming that you understand each other can be dangerous. It’s much better to check before a misunderstanding occurs.
Ten Persuasion Tactics
No matter how positively influential you are, it always helps to have a few handy persuasion tips up your sleeve, so here are ten tips to get you started:
The “Your Doctor would Tell you to…” Principle
Why do people trust doctors and follow their advice? People trust them because they know that doctors have had years’ of relevant training and experience. Well so have you. As a manager you have gained the scars and war stories, and will also have access to the experience and knowledge of your senior team members and experts. When you deploy these together, you have a massive level of credibility. Wear it lightly, but do ensure the people you need to persuade are aware of it.
The “Jiminy Cricket” Effect
Do you recall that in the movie, Jiminy Cricket was appointed to be Pinocchio’s conscience? You, me and most everyone has a Jiminy Cricket organ – a part of our brains that makes us feel bad if we are about to break or promise or renege on a commitment. The most important part of triggering the Jiminy Cricket effect is to secure a clear commitment, and the more prominent it is, then the stronger the effect will be.
Look them in the eye and ask for their commitment. Step up the effect by doing it in a formal setting and, better still, in front of other colleagues. Amplify it to the max by doing it in writing. Then, courteously remind them of their commitment two or three times in the run-up to your deadline.
=The “Eight out of Ten Cat Owners” Principle
A UK TV advert asserted that “Eight out of ten cat owners, who expressed a preference, said their cat prefers…” Why did this advert work? Well, because despite loving their pets, few cat or dog owners taste their pet’s food. So how do they know what to buy? But, if other loving pet owners have made their choice, then perhaps the safest option is to go with their judgment. This is known as social proof and, where the stakes are low and people think they are like the crowd, then they feel good doing what the crowd does. It saves making a decision for themselves.
The “Follow Me” Effect
People like to follow crowds, and leaders too. So, if you show enough confidence in yourself, and confidently expect people to follow, they often will. Leading from the front or role model leadership is a powerful persuader. Often, the most powerful way to deploy this is to not even ask, just do.
The “WAM” Principle
WAM stands for “What about me?” This is the most basic persuader of all: self-interest. Where you can properly align your request with one's self-interest, they will comply readily. So put yourself in other people’s shoes and ask, “What’s in it for you?” When you understand the answer, you will have the basis for easy motivation and persuasion. This is the fundamental approach to the influence aspect of stakeholder engagement.
The “Who are You to Tell Me?” Principle
Without the WAM factor, there is almost always one thing you need to establish before you try to persuade anyone of anything: “Who are you to tell me?”
People want to know the credentials of anyone who is trying to persuade them. Can we trust them? Do they understand our position? Do they know what they are talking about? Are they one of us? Watch any half-way competent professional politician and you will see that they spend more of their time on these aspects of persuasion than they do on mounting their argument for any particular policy or position. And the reason is simple: if they fail to establish their character and credibility, people won’t listen to anything else.
The “Structured Response” Effect
When you make your argument, you must make it in as clear and concise a way as possible. The more confusing you are, the less they’ll be persuaded. The more you repeat yourself, the lower your influence will be. So take care to structure your advocacy or responses with a clear context, point of view, and reason.
The “Make ’em Feel Smart” Principle
Most managers and all of the experts and specialists on your projects are smart—very smart. And you all have a tendency to show this off and use long words, jargon and even formulae to prove it. Wrong! People won’t trust you if they don’t fully understand you. And if they don’t trust you, they won’t do or think as you ask. You will fail to persuade them. On the other hand, if they think they understand deeply, because you have explained clearly, in simple terms, with analogies, pictures and simple lists, then they will feel smart, they will trust you, and they will say to themselves “Yes, that’s right. I get it.”
The “Why Should I Care?” Principle
People rarely make their choices based on facts and logic. What people do is decide based on their emotional response to the situation, and then use the analysis and evidence that you give us, to justify our choice – both to others and to ourselves. As an influencer and persuader, you neglect the emotional dimension at your peril. It is simply not true that emotions have no place in management.
The “Welcome the Ah but…” Principle
Managers fear resistance from the team members and stakeholders. But in truth, it’s a good thing. It means you are getting genuine engagement with your ideas. Listen to it, because you may just learn something. But if you believe you are right, the simple strategy is always to keep inviting every last objection. When you’ve dealt with them all; when you’ve “emptied the hopper,” then there will be no resistance left.