Friday, January 22, 2010

Overcome Resistance With the Right Questions - The Conversation - Harvard Business Review

It's funny that I just mentioned today that acting as a manager is very much like acting as an educator. As an art educator I often use the Socrates method in dialogues and conversations, and I was thinking to investigate this method for management purposes. And I just came across this article that deals with this concept: Overcome Resistance With the Right Questions - The Conversation - Harvard Business Review Managers meet resistance every day. The way they handle it often is counterproductive. The resistance can come from a boss who won't approve a project, a management peer who refuses to provide resources, a customer who flatly rejects a proposal — anybody blocking you from meeting a goal. The typical manager's default response when somebody keeps saying no is to keep selling the idea. The manager trots out more evidence to support the idea and describes the payoffs for the other person. And the person keeps saying no. There's a better way. Asking a series of easily answered questions will help the other person rethink his assumptions and open up possibilities for agreement. The idea was first proposed by Socrates in classical Athens some 2,400 years ago. The Socratic Method has helped opposing parties reach agreement ever since, though in today's more confrontational world it's greatly underused. Asking a question like "Why do you say that?" can help you learn the reason why the other person isn't cooperating. The reason might surprise you. Read further: Overcome Resistance With the Right Questions - The Conversation - Harvard Business Review