Here I wrote of the suppression of new enthusiasm which resulted in ignored talent, wasted energy and poor commitment.

It’s important that we also consider the opposite – seasoned cynicism. These people in your organisation (or perhaps yourself) respond to every new proposed change with ‘it won’t work’ – an opinion usually formed through the messy reality of previous organisational changes. There are a number of reasons to be stuck here, usually stemming from fear.

  • A fear of being burned again,
  • A fear of falling behind or being removed completely,
  • A fear of standing out,
  • A fear of wasted time and energy.

Working with a seasoned cynic is usually more of an art than a science. However, I’ve found that the only way to impress and create movement – renewed energy and hope – within a seasoned cynic is results.

Clear, irrefutable results.

We need to do this early to create ongoing commitment. The method: Create a challenge path. A path of activities of escalating difficulty, each with immediate impact and result.

Start with, and commit the cynic to the easiest challenge first. It should be simple enough to not be refused, but with enough impact that it creates notable progress towards your vision and an immediate result. This often works well when it targets a change in either who (their team), what (their work), when (their timetabling), where (their location) or how (their systems and processes) as these are tangible and immediate. Then move on to the next challenge, and the next.

This doesn’t only apply to organisational change efforts. Perhaps your own energy and hope is low. Are you responding with cynicism? Create a challenge path.

Your Action Plan:

Create a challenge path for your immediate team.

  1. Set a short-term vision (no more than a month),
  2. Run a challenge path design session by:
    1. Listing the challenges required to hit the vision
    2. Capturing the respective size and impact of these challenges
    3. Reorder for the lowest size and largest impact
    4. Set ownership and commitment
  3. Conquer
  4. Reflect

Don’t have a team at the moment? Do the above but for yourself.

Need help? Contact us.