Not only that, when we fail, we tend to fail hard. Don’t believe me?
Well, how do you feel about the last guy who tried to talk you into buying something you didn’t want? When was the last time you heard an “elevator pitch” that didn’t make you want to jump out the window?
Despite our repeated failures we believe that persuading or changing others is a necessary part of life, and a core part of business. But there is something wrong with our concept of persuasion. There is something deeply troubling that lies behind most of the persuasion theorists’ work and advice.
Take, for example, this excerpt from an article in the BBC today: “[I] have drawn four universal lessons about how to get people to do things they don’t want to do. This, after all, is what management is all about, and jolly difficult it is, too.”
Getting people to do things they don’t want to do is what management is all about??? This is a ludicrous assertion. I couldn’t believe anyone still really believed that, yet at the time of writing this post the article is the second most read and shared on the BBC.
Contrast it with a very different approach taken from Derek Halpern’s recent blog post where he talks, among other things, about his sales strategy: “I know changing peoples minds is damn near impossible, so instead of wasting time trying to “change” someone, I go after the people who already like me… and focus on making them happy.”
Derek, I couldn’t have said it better myself. Instead of focusing on persuading people who don’t like your idea, your product or company, find people that do and focus on making them happy.
That is what management is all about.