How To Convince My Colleagues I’m Right

You won’t always agree with the ideas people on your team put forward, but there’s a difference between an idea you don’t quite like and an idea that is just downright terrible. How do you convince your team that this is an awful idea without sounding like an asshole?

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Kim Ades: Hello, hello. My name is Kim Ades, I'm the President and Founder of Frame of Mind Coaching and the co-founder of The Journal That Talks Back. We haven't spoken about The Journal That Talks Back in a while and I thought that I'd mentioned something about it.  

We are growing, we have an amazing team of coaches, and we have clients who are using the software and the service every single day. How it works is that you are introduced to your coach, you go onto the platform and you pick a journaling prompt from our library of journaling prompts, or you can just start journaling. And every time you journal, your coach will be reading and responding to your journal.

So you can journal once a week, once a day, six times a day. It doesn't really matter, your coach will be there to read and respond to your journal. And for those of you who are thinking about journaling and would love to get some feedback on your journal, would love to work with a coach, affordably, please come and check out The Journal That Talks Back. Honestly, it's an incredibly amazing service and our coaches are amazing, so please come see us there.  

But today is The Frame of Mind Coaching Podcast and it's Fridays with Ferne, and I think I mentioned last time that I know that sometimes you are listening to this and it's not a Friday, it doesn't matter. I still love the term, the title Fridays with Ferne. Ferne is my daughter, for those of you who don't know, and she is here week after week starting an interesting discussion with us. Ferne, welcome.  

[00:01:38] Ferne Kotlyar: Hello, Hello! Always nice to be here.  

[00:01:42] Kim Ades: So you have the Northern lights on today?  

[00:01:44] Ferne Kotlyar: Yeah. I mean, winter is coming.

[00:01:48] Kim Ades: Winter is coming.  

[00:01:49] Ferne Kotlyar: Yeah.  

[00:01:50] Kim Ades: I have a... It's on my bucket list to go and see the Northern Lights.  

[00:01:54] Ferne Kotlyar: Yeah, me too.  

[00:01:56] Kim Ades: So what do you wanna talk about today?  

[00:01:59] Ferne Kotlyar: Right. So today I had more of a leadership question.  

[00:02:04] Kim Ades: Okay.  

[00:02:05] Ferne Kotlyar: So let's say you're on a team, on a board of directors, whatever it is, a team that makes decisions, and someone on your team... You're not quite the president, you're just one of the board members, and someone on the team suggest an idea that you don't like.  

You think it's not great, you think it's not very intelligent, whatever you think. And it kind of sits a bit wrongly with you. How do you change the direction given that someone made this comment or suggested this thing, without sounding completely negative?

[00:02:43] Kim Ades: Yeah, so there are a few strategies or tactics that you can use to address that kind of conversation. So strategy number one is that you would say "tell me more", so that they would explain more, and they could have an opportunity to embellish or come to a place where they feel like, "oh, that's not really a good idea, is it?" Right? So, either they fix the idea or they realize it's not the best idea. So that's one option.  

Another option is to approach it slightly differently. You might assume a positive intent, and you might say, "oh, is this what you're trying to achieve?" And by capturing what they are trying to achieve, and they say "yes", you say, "oh, I see". So, you're not only assuming positive intentention, you're assigning a positive intention to their idea, and then you're saying, "I know how that could work", and then you run with something new or you piggyback off of their idea or their desire or their concept, and you run with it.  

And then there's a third strategy, which is a little more confrontational, which you could say, "oh, okay, so help me understand how your solution would address these issues, these problems". So now you're forcing them to think things through, but also address the issues that they haven't thought of clearly. So it's a little bit more confrontational. And I think, to be honest, all of those three strategies could be useful at any given point in time.  

[00:04:20] Ferne Kotlyar: For different things.  

[00:04:21] Kim Ades: Yeah.  

[00:04:22] Ferne Kotlyar: So what happens if someone comments, you don't respond, the group starts to kind of rally behind this idea. How do you... Once they have the kind of the support of the team, how do you change it from there?  

[00:04:39] Kim Ades: Well, again, I think it's important for you to think it through and decide why you don't like the idea. Is it because the idea doesn't appropriately address all issues? Is it because there could be a better idea? Is it because that idea is expensive, costly, exhausting? What's the reason?  

[00:05:02] Ferne Kotlyar: What if it clashes with your values? So for example, like a big value of Minus Food, and I know it sounds crazy, but I also know that you agree... And so, let's say you're planning a party or some event, whatever, conference, whatever it is, and there's a budget restriction, but you don't think there's enough food in that we should allocate more money to the food, but at that point it's a values issue, it's not like you just think they're wrong. It's like a...  

[00:05:33] Kim Ades: Yeah, so it, it's not a values issue. It's a "get everybody on the same page" opportunity. So what does that mean? You say, okay, so we're having events. What's the goal of the event? Why do we have these events?  

[00:05:48] Ferne Kotlyar: To make people feel welcome?  

[00:05:50] Kim Ades: To make people feel welcome, to get them--  

[00:05:51] Ferne Kotlyar: Or to gather.  

[00:05:53] Kim Ades: Right?  

[00:05:53] Ferne Kotlyar: Yeah.  

[00:05:53] Kim Ades: To gather, to make people feel welcome, to give them something to commune over. Right? All of--  

[00:06:01] Ferne Kotlyar: To fill their stomachs.  

[00:06:02] Kim Ades: Sure. And so part of what you wanna do is say, okay, every time we have an event, what are the boxes we wanna make sure we're ticking? Do we always need to have food at events? And so, you might think yes, and maybe you don't, but what you wanna do is make sure that when you're having events, you're achieving your goals.  

And if having a little bit of food actually looks worse than having no food, maybe the answer is "this is a no food event", or you have more food because this isn't enough. So the idea is to get together and say, what are our goals and how to achieve them, and what role does food play in achieving those goals.

[00:06:42] Ferne Kotlyar: Yeah, I guess like there could be issues of background, like cultural issues of... You know, like you're planning a wedding and what comes first, the salad or the appetizer? Does a salad come at the beginning or the end? Like, it's--

[00:06:55] Kim Ades: The end.  

[00:06:58] Ferne Kotlyar: Depends on the person. But it's--  

[00:07:00] Kim Ades: Depends on the person. [Chuckles]  

[00:07:00] Ferne Kotlyar: [Chuckles] But it's such trivial things that just rub you the wrong way because they're cultural, emotional, whatever they are, and there isn't necessarily a right reason or right way to do it.  

[00:07:12] Kim Ades: Yeah.  

[00:07:12] Ferne Kotlyar: But you just feel... Like, it feels bad.  

[00:07:16] Kim Ades: Yeah.  

[00:07:16] Ferne Kotlyar: So how do you--  

[00:07:18] Kim Ades: I think, again, you have to-- I think people get caught up in, sometimes, nitty gritty details without thinking about what is my goal. So the question of the salad at the beginning or at the end of the wedding, when when I got married to Allan, I wanted the salad at the end. He's like "well, that's not done", and I said "why not? What's the issue?" And you know, it's a different cultural or stylistic approach.  

[00:07:54] Ferne Kotlyar: Was it at the end at the end?  

[00:07:55] Kim Ades: It was at the end, but the reason it was at the end is because he stepped back and said, what exactly is my objection here? Why am I objecting to this? Is it because I've always been doing it this way? Is there a rational reason for this? And when--  

[00:08:12] Ferne Kotlyar: But isn't that logic works the other way as well? Is there a rational reason for it to be at the end versus the beginning?  

[00:08:18] Kim Ades: Well, we could talk about what we're trying to achieve here, and the idea is that it's a little bit unusual, it's a little bit different, it gives you a different feeling, a different experience. So having the salad at the end gives you a feeling of "wow, this is a bit of a different approach". And I personally like that different, being a little bit different.  

But also when you're planning a wedding in this way, you know, what are the elements that are important to us? And does this achieve that goal, that feeling of it being special? That feeling of being memorable, unusual, different, signature, you could say. Signature wedding, right? And so, does that achieve the goal? And the answer is yes.  

And so what are the elements that create that? But for Allan in particular, he had a lot of things that went according to his ideology, and he realized "hey, there's this one thing that's really insignificant and not material that I could say yes to". What's the purpose of a marriage? The purpose of a marriage is to celebrate a union, it doesn't matter when the salad is. So he was willing to give it up, right?

[00:09:35] Ferne Kotlyar: Yeah, it's interesting. I mean, with your partner... If you can't plan a wedding together, maybe it's not the best if you not-- Not the best to be living together. But [Chuckles] with a team, I guess it's a bit different. I think people do really get caught up in their emotions and their culture and their little things that don't really matter that much.

And I think in a way, it's also good if you can kind of give people their little things because then they feel good, and maybe you can get-- Not get, but you can make decisions in other areas.  

[00:10:07] Kim Ades: Yeah. You know what? Honestly, I think it's very important for us to always go back to what is our goal. I'll tell you a quick story. Years ago, and maybe some of you have heard this story, but it's one that I always, always remember... But years ago, I coached a gentleman who happened to be in the accounting world, and at the beginning of our coaching term, I asked him a question.  

The question was, what is singularly the most important thing?-- What's your priority? He said, "without question, it's my relationship with my wife. It's very important that we are connected, that we're on the same page, that we spend quality time together. That relationship is more important to me than anything. It's more important than my business, more important than my friendships, even more important than my own children. That relationship is key, it's critical".  

Okay, great. Wonderful. I took note of it, but a few weeks into our coaching experience, he sent me a journal and he said "I just got into a massive fight with my wife", I said "well, what happened?" He said "we got into a fight about one of our kids. One of my kids wants to stay out at an all night party on a Sunday night, and I said no, but she said yes, and I just don't think it's a good idea".  

"Already he has trouble in school. Already he sometimes doesn't like to attend class, and I think this sends the wrong sign". It sounds like he's being reasonable, it sounds like he's actually making a very rational, responsible decision on behalf of his son, but his wife already said yes, but he got so mad, he wrote to me in his journal, "I got so mad that I went to sleep in the other room".

So here's a question, does sleeping in the room satisfy or help him reach his number one priority? Which is connectivity with his wife. Does that achieve the goal?  

[00:11:58] Ferne Kotlyar: No.  

[00:11:59] Kim Ades: No!  

[00:12:00] Ferne Kotlyar: But what is he supposed to do? Give up on everything? Like, let her have her-- Not let her have her way, but not have his own opinion on things and just accept whatever she says?

[00:12:12] Kim Ades: No, he's entitled to his opinion and he's entitled to a rational conversation, he's entitled to communicate. He's entitled to say "this really, I think is a valid choice". But what he did was he lost sight of his own priorities, because he had a higher desire, he got lost and he decided it's more important right now for me to be right than it is for me to be happy".

And that's what happens when we work on teams. It happens when we build relationships with significant others, it happens that we have this need to be right. And when we have a need to be right, we forget about what it is that we wanted in the first place, which is harmony and unity.  

[00:12:53] Ferne Kotlyar: Yeah.  

[00:12:53] Kim Ades: Right? And we give it up, we put it on the back burner, we forget. And so even in a team, a really great person on the team will say, "what's our goal? Let's remember what our goal is". It's not only to host an event, for example, it's to host an event that achieves the following. Does having only this amount of food create comfort? Or does it create awkwardness? Does it create discomfort? Does it achieve our goal?

[00:13:20] Ferne Kotlyar: Yeah. I think it's good to never... It's important never to lose sight of that. And to write it down, to literally write it down, talk about it actually have clear cut goals, even if they sound kind of self explanatory, like, if you have a team that's a committee to run events, your goal is to run events and welcome new... People...  

[00:13:49] Kim Ades: Members.  

[00:13:49] Ferne Kotlyar: ...To the community or whatever.

[00:13:51] Kim Ades: Yeah. Right, exactly. And part of what you can do is say "what are our values? If our values are warmth and generosity, well, having six hot dogs when there are 25 people, doesn't achieve that goal. Right?  

[00:14:09] Ferne Kotlyar: [Laughs] Yeah.  

[00:14:11] Kim Ades: Okay. So, it's okay to do it, it's very important, in my opinion, to do it logically as opposed to emotionally.

[00:14:20] Ferne Kotlyar: Yeah, I mean, easier said than done.  

[00:14:23] Kim Ades: Sometimes, yes.  

[00:14:24] Ferne Kotlyar: Most of the time.  

[00:14:25] Kim Ades: Yeah, exactly.  

[00:14:26] Ferne Kotlyar: Absolutely.  

[00:14:27] Kim Ades: But one of the things that we do when we coach people is we always remind them "what's your goal?" And when we remind them what their goals are, their decisions are made with greater clarity.  

[00:14:41] Ferne Kotlyar: That's great.  

[00:14:42] Kim Ades: Yeah.  

[00:14:43] Ferne Kotlyar: Very important.  

[00:14:44] Kim Ades: Okay, so for those of you who are listening, what do you want and what is your goal? And are the decisions you are making consistent and aligned with your goals? Think about that. It's a very important question and very, very valuable to continue to ask yourself, "what is it that I want?"

All right, good. For those of you who wanna provide us with some feedback, provide us with some input, give us some things to discuss. We'd love to hear from you! Ferne, how do they reach?  

[00:15:13] Ferne Kotlyar: Please email me. And that's at Fernekotlyar@live.com.  

[00:15:21] Kim Ades: And you can reach me. My email address is Kim@frameofmindcoaching.com. We will see you next week. Have a good one, everyone.  

[00:15:30] Ferne Kotlyar: Bye!  

[00:15:31] Kim Ades: Bye!

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