• Kris Happe, M.Ed.

The Power of Not Persuading

Have you ever felt so completely committed to an idea, action or plan that you want everyone to get on board with you~ YESTERDAY?


When trying and convince others of a point of view, often the energy from our need to move their understanding to...to see things our way~ to 'see the light' things can quickly become heated. Not heated? Alright, how about sensing silent sabotage setting in? If they only understood the research, the possibilities, the benefits...then they would get on board. What happens when we try and persuade someone to see it our way? They resist.


Of course they resist. We all do it. It is a natural protective response to push back against someone attempting to claim territory; the currency of their support. Our passion adds to a perfect storm of an energetic power struggle. Trying to convince other people to embrace your ideas can feel like coercion, not persuasion.


Having been hired to make changes to an entire school district's gifted and talented programming, K-12, in a very small second tier suburb, I was-not-popular ( I am now, but that's another article). No matter what I said or did. There are a few things I learned (in those eight years) that yield better long term results than strong arm persuasion or fevered fangirling.


1. Do not try and convince. Just share.

2. Do not get into a war of ideas or ideals. Disputes like this are distractions.

3. Make sure 'best practice' and reputable sources in your field is your foundation. "In my experience..." goes only so far~ (like an inch).

4. What should you do today- when the majority of folks don't openly support the change you are initiating? Work with the 'living.' The 'living' being those who are on board; your early adopters.

5. Determine those who are key influencers in your environment. Work to understand their perspective. Don't talk. Listen. "Help me understand how you came to feel this way."


Finally, a truth tidbit that helps me almost daily.

Truth: Other people's opinions-especially about you personally, are none of your business.


Letting your natural human concerns about what people think of you and how you are doing your job be one of your frequent thoughts~is a mistake that is common but deadly to great work, innovative ideas and progress.


Besides, how others react and behave is rarely about you-really. So...don't try and persuade, just clear a path for the living.






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