No Innovation Without Persuasion
New ideas are hard. It may even be true that the better they are, the more feathers they''ll ruffle, the more power centers they'll destabilize, the more resentment they'll raise, the more change they'll require.
Why do great new ideas die in average companies? Perhaps the idea originated with the wrong person - someone low the totem pole, or from the wrong department, someone clever but shy - and too few people in the firm have been trained to decouple the message from the messenger. Maybe the idea stems from the outside world, when it's known that the only way to get ahead in this company is to be the single-minded hero of your own ideas. Or it might have threatened entrenched power, and there was no one skilled enough at grace-under-conflict to stand up for it. Perhaps the idea is difficult or eccentric, and there is no one with the persuasive oomph to push it over the top.
There are many ways for an ingenious idea to die, and very, very few truly ingenious ideas. A tight organization can't afford to sacrifice a one of them. Surely a firm that is quicker to uncover, adopt, refine, raise up, and achieve consensus on the best ideas enjoys a significant advantage over its more plodding, conventional competitors.
Imagine a world-changing idea revealing itself somewhere distributed throughout your department or firm. Who will be it's champion? Who will formulate the arguments necessary to persuade the many different forces arrayed against making things happen? And then deliver those arguments charmingly and with aplomb. With indefatigable persuasive persistence? Who? Someone who has learned to persuade under pressure.
And why should we limit ourselves to a single champion? What if everyone in the company had maxed out their persuasive skills? What if there was a methodology that permeated the firm, through which the better ideas compete and become progressively more refined and to-the-point, due to the forceful efforts of highly persuasive individuals trained to formulate powerful arguments, and not to take things personally.
In the Persuasive Organization, individuals measure themselves (and are measured) less by the ideas they come up with, and more by the ones they recognize, perfect and elevate. Further, the truly persuasive person knows that when a better idea reveals itself, it's best get on board (always back a winner). Not to do so is to risk a reputation for stubbornness and self-interest, and to thus sacrifice believability and persuasive power in future dealings. Perhaps counter-intuitively, the most persuasive people are highly persuadable (but only by really good ideas, and only at the end of a process that tests those ideas, and sharpens them).
In the Persuasive Organization, ideas bounce between minds, are refined and reworked, and bounce some more. As they do, the good ones win consensus, become broadly distributed, and the shape of the organization changes dynamically around them. Structured free flow of ever-more-refined ideas makes innovating within the firm what it should be: fun.
To find out how to make your organization a Persuasive Organization, contact us.