How to NOT lose friends and alienate people...5 top tips to ensure you bring your people along with you on your big decisions!
If you’ve been following us for a while, you’ll know that we’re fascinated by the notion of pivots and life change moments. We’ve written about the subject extensively; you can find some stuff here and here if you’d like to read more.
In these moments, when you’re working through personal changes and their impact on your life, you will often have to make some big decisions.
They can weigh heavily on you because they will likely require you to do things differently.
However, these decisions rarely affect just you alone.
IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT YOU
People around you – partners, family, friends, colleagues, mentors etc. – will be impacted by these big choices you’re considering.
As much as you wish or will it, if there’s a big change happening, it’s possible that there are situations where not everyone will be on board at first.
And chances are that this adds pressure to your decision making. For some, it could be the difference between taking a leap of faith or staying put in the status quo.
In 2013, my role was restructured after only 5 months of me joining a new company.
I wanted to start my own consulting business, but I also needed to be sure that I could look after my family’s needs too. I grappled with the decision for months for a variety of reasons, but came to the realisation that I needed to do it.
Although I was confident about my ability to grow the company successfully, I realised that a big part of my reticence to push forward was that I hadn’t brought my partner into my thinking and future mapping.
She too was anxious about our new future and wasn’t necessarily aligned with my ‘crazy’ idea, but as soon as I took the steps I share below to bring her in, she was totally on board and fully supportive.
For me, this was a huge relief and gave me the energy to jump into it with both feet.
Today’s post is all about ensuring you bring your people on your journey with you, so that instead of you feeling weighed down by what they think, you’re instead able to be energised by the oxygen their support gives to your idea.
RIP THE PLASTER OFF
Delaying the important (but tricky) conversations, although they give short term relief, only serve to increase your anxiety and worry about the situation.
Plan to have the conversation in an appropriate setting, and then just do it! Start the dialogue, be prepared to go wherever the conversation needs to go. However challenging it is, starting is the main thing.
PAINT THE PICTURE
Show the journey in glorious technicolour. Map the future in whichever works best for you – it could be a business plan, a storybook, a sketch, a scribble on a napkin…whatever works for you (mine was a mindmap).
Don’t forget to account for things that might go wrong, and share your plans to tackle them. Show the good, the bad and the ugly…but paint a ‘true’ picture to gain trust and support i.e. don’t massively overpromise to only set them up for disappointment later.
SHARE YOUR WHY
You’ve talked about what you’re going to do and demonstrated the journey ahead, but you should also show them why it’s so important to you. They need to understand why you’re feeling so strongly about this, so they can understand your purpose for doing it.
They need to feel and get excited by your energy behind it.
They need to be touched, moved and inspired by what you see is possible in the new future you’re creating.
ANTICIPATE HOW THEY’RE FEELING
Be empathetic. Don’t overlook or underestimate how they might be feeling.
Even if you think a decision is entirely yours to make alone, consider the impact on others around you. Anticipate the questions they might have and be prepared to answer them.
Show them you care about their opinion and perspective. Bring them into your plans and thoughts, invite feedback (receive it graciously even if you disagree with it).
Make them your biggest cheerleaders.
The tips above are not necessarily given or suggested to be used in sequential order, and some may be more relevant than others in your situation. You should make a judgement call about what works best for you and then get going.
Do you have any top tips to help bring important people in on big decisions? If so, please share with us in the comments section below.