How do you deal with the critics and skeptics in your organization?


I recently came across this interesting video of a Harvard Professor discussing selling ideas within an organization (link available at the end of this post).  And it’s no secret that SharePoint requires a fair amount of evangelizing to change people’s behavior, sell solutions, and influence decision makers.  SharePoint is suppose to be a productivity tool – right?

In the video, the Professor discusses tactics the naysayers use such as confusion, fear mongering, or death by delay.   And I can honestly say I’ve witnessed them all — especially when you start discussing the “social capabilities” of SharePoint.  It’s kind of ironic actually that simply suggesting technology to improve the socialization of ideas and business discussions is met with such social dysfunction.  Anyway, the interesting thing I took away from the Q&A in the video was how to address the naysayers.  Professor Kotter recommends thinking through what the skeptics might say and then inviting the critics in to address their concerns head on.  He goes on to say that the discussion (or heated discussion) will get people’s attention — who might otherwise ignore the ideas as a result of our own personal information overload.   And come to think of it information overload itself just might be another tactic the skeptics use — if you like conspiracy theories of course.

Now when it comes to SharePoint and solutions built on SharePoint, I have to question whether or not it’s best to get a group of cross functional (or dysfunctional) stakeholders or business process owners together to agree upon a technology that many don’t understand.  So I’m going to pose the question to the community and hope the readers and lurkers out there might share their experiences or stories on some of their personal or organizational challenges?   Is it legal or compliance concerns?  Political?  Fear of losing control?  Is it mainly social features that raise objection?  Or SharePoint in general?  What’s your SharePoint story?  And how has your organization addressed the skeptics?

Link to video:  http://blogs.hbr.org/video/2010/10/how-to-stop-good-ideas-from-ge.html

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3 Comments to “How do you deal with the critics and skeptics in your organization?”

  1. I lead a secret double life 🙂 career wise as I split my time between SharePoint and facilitation/sensemaking. I just posted a few insights on my own blog not 24 hours ago before I read this. You might find some of my sensemaking lessons learned offer something…

    http://www.cleverworkarounds.com/2010/11/08/dialogue-mapping-the-ying-to-sharepoint-yang/

    regards

    paul

    • Thanks for sharing that Paul. I’ve only flown through Perth on my way to Sydney. Very good key points you make that can help someone develop an information architecture, design sites, and gain user adoption.
      1. Learn from outside your discipline
      2. Listen for the conversation beneath the conversation
      3. Ask the right questions and don’t overlook “legacy”
      4. Celebrate your wins

      I’d be really interested in hearing more about “dialogue mapping” process.

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