Strategy. Innovation. Brand.

Activate Your Friends, Energize Your Enemies

In highly political situations, your ability to speak eloquently may actually work to your disadvantage. By speaking forcefully about a political objective, you may activate your friends but thoroughly energize your opponents. Your friends may support your objectives but without a great deal of energy. Your opponents, on the other hand, may be thoroughly alarmed by your presentations and highly energized to oppose your initiative. You can provoke a strong immune response from your opponents that can swamp even the best laid plans.

This happens regularly in political situations — especially during election campaigns. When one side speaks for something, the other side is motivated to increase the volume when speaking against it. Even if it’s a perfectly logical proposal, the mere fact that one side is pushing it hard may cause the other side to push back even harder.

Does this happen in business situations? All the time. But in business, the immune response is often cloaked. (In politics, the conflict is right out in the open — which may be healthier). If your business is highly political, you may find that speaking strongly for an initiative simply activates your opposition and weakens your position. If you think that’s happening to you, don’t stop speaking for your initiative but be sure to reach out to the opposition to look for common ground and areas of agreement. You need to make the first move — your opponents are not going to come to you. Look for private, face-to-face meetings with your opponents to clear the air and bridge the gap. You can learn more in the video.

By the way, the book I mention in the video is Beyond Ideology: Politics, Principles, and Partisanship in the U.S. Senate by France E. Lee. You can find it here on Amazon.

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