When is criticism a good thing?
Here’s the scene.
You’re starting a new business or project, or you’re planning a change in your workplace. You’ve thought it through and have a well-structured plan. When you take the plan to your boss for approval, you’re asked if anyone will oppose it. You say you don’t know. Your boss says, “Well find out. Then, change your plan to accommodate them. When you’ve done that, then come back and see me for approval.”
Ow! Your Momentum was just slapped in the face. But you believe so much in the value of your project that you courteously ask your boss, “This will make us a lot of money, but I value the view from your height. Who do you think might oppose this project?”
A workplace change affects many people: your workers, your colleagues, company executives, customers, competitors and others. How will each group be affected? Can you strengthen your plan if you become aware of your potential detractors’ needs?
Yes, you can.
For nearly 20 years, I worked in an environment where decisions were hard to come by. Administrators needed to be sure that no one would oppose a project before it was approved. So, I had to learn the process of gaining consensus.
When I had gained complete consensus that my project was the right thing, that no one would be put out by my project, and that there would be no losers, only winners, then nothing would stand in my path. This was an environment where I had some of the biggest wins of my career. It was an environment where I learned the power of CONSENSUS.
Gaining consensus is not easy, but it is simple. Use empathy. Try to place yourself in the shoes of each person or group who may be affected by your project. Meet with them or a least meet with a representative of their group. Ask them why they might oppose your project. Tell them you’re in the planning stage and ask, “How can I change the plan to win your support?”
It is a rigorous but very important process that builds the circle of winners and almost guarantees success for your project.
When is criticism a good thing? When it helps you build CONSENSUS.
When you modify the plan to deliver benefits to all constituents, and they see your efforts to give them what they need, they will become your energetic supporters.
Read my book, Workplace Champion By Example, and see other simple strategies for winning at work.