Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Embrace Your Irrational Colleagues

Organizations of course are composed of people, all of whom act irrationally at various times and seemingly do the "wrong" things. So it's no wonder that we often run into a colleague, boss, or subordinate who just can't seem to consider a completely reasonable suggestion. If you find yourself in this situation, here are two simple and "rational" guidelines to keep in mind:

  1. Don't try to fight irrationality with rationality. It will only make you more frustrated and the other person more defensive. No matter how many well-constructed arguments you offer, you won't make headway until you understand the underlying motivation that is driving the other person.
  2. Focus on discovering, understanding, and embracing the other person's rationale. Even if your adversary is being driven by unconscious motivations, it's important to try to figure them out. Resistance to apparent logic always comes from somewhere, and you won't be able to breakthrough until you understand the reason. For example, sales people often resist logical and straightforward sales-model changes because they fear that compensation will be affected, or that customer relationships will be harmed. Until you understand and deal with those underlying issues it's difficult to make headway.
  3. Full Article from Harvard Business Review

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