In Leading Skeptics and Believers I suggest that if you want to cause change, focus first on the “believers.” While many agreed with that point of view, there was a lot of discussion about what to do with the skeptics.
Some believe you should just ignore them. Others believe you have to at least try to enroll them. While I do believe you should focus your energy on the believers, especially in the beginning of any new endeavor, I also don’t think skeptics can or should be ignored.
In fact, many people are skeptical because of past experience and they just don’t want to set themselves up for disappointment. When a leader makes a commitment to progress and change, and does not follow through they can actually leave the organization worse off than if they never even began. This is because the believers of yesterday, once let down or even scorned, will often become the skeptics of tomorrow.
There are of course those who are more committed to their skepticism than they are to progress. They are usually pretty easy to spot because in every encounter they will throw up reasons why not and other roadblocks to progress and conversations usually end in a debate that is never resolved.
Then there are the cynics – the people who are not only skeptical, but committed to ensuring no one succeeds. Given their commitment to proving themselves right that “this will never work,” success will naturally drive these folks out of the organization or cause a profound change of heart. I’ve witnessed both. And I can tell you that those who experience the profound change of heart become the most ardent supporters, while those who don’t and leave are not missed.
3 Things You Can Do to Win Over a Skeptic:
Read the rest here: http://randomactsofleadership.com/how-to-win-over-a-skeptic/