slidedown

How to Drive Decisions Without Saying a Word

Woman Wearing Sunglasses with Finger on Mouth Saying ShhhAll too often, leaders seek to build support for an idea by talking – a lot. They go on and on about why the decision is a good one – detailing its benefits, the reasons others should support it, and the path forward. There’s passion and excitement behind the talk and the leader lets it show through in the form of focused enthusiasm. At best, the leader is pegged as long-winded, overbearing, and insecure. At worst, the decision doesn’t get made because no one buys in or it’s pushed through despite active resistance that will almost certainly derail implementation.

Here’s a more effective way to make decisions and get people to support their implementation: be quiet.

Know Your Destination

Heading into your meeting, be clear about the desired outcome. Are you there to secure overarching support for your recommendation? Or are you simply looking to sell a few key stakeholders? Are you seeking approval for a pilot? A full roll-out? By being explicit about the meeting’s objectives, you’ll increase the likelihood of achieving them.

Kick off the meeting by clearing stating the objective in an affirmative way: “We’re here to approve the full roll out of the new compensation plan.” In other words, point everyone in the right direction.

Know When to Ride…

Set the destination, provide a not-too-granular overview, and then say this: “Based on the background I’ve just provided, I’d like to hear perspectives from the group on the subject of moving forward with rolling out the idea.” At that point, shut up; let the conversation happen and watch where it goes.

As people discuss the idea, they’ll offer pros and cons. They’ll add new ideas and information to the conversation. They’ll influence one another without you saying a word. While the discussion might not proceed at a brisk pace, letting participants debate without pressure lets them to work through their objections naturally.

As long as the discussion is progressing toward your objective, resist the urge to open your mouth. Pay attention to questions and concerns raised by participants. Identify your champions and understand your adversaries, as well as their reasons for not supporting the idea. While everyone is talking, you’re gathering intelligence and they’re taking ownership for the outcome.

…and Know When to Steer

If the conversation deviates from your desired objective, steer things back on course quickly. Often this only requires a light touch. Redirecting with a question feels less heavy handed. For example: “I understand you have concerns about the technology support for the roll-out, John. What kind of technology support would you need to approve this recommendation?” With a gentle question, you’ve led John to clarify his objections and now have him working toward solving his own concern.

If a participant continues to object, pull in the other participants again: “Susan, as the CIO, do you think your team can provide the roll-out support John is looking for? What will it take for you to make that happen?” Again, with a simple question, you now have two stakeholders working together to create a solution in support of your recommendation. These slight steering corrections keep the conversation moving in the right direction and lead the group to collectively take ownership for the idea.

If They Make the Decision, They’ll Support the Decision

By letting participants reach a decision at their own pace and without pressure, you’re securing their buy in. If they’re bought into it and feel like they made the decision and solved for their own objections, they’re much more likely to support the implementation.

Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC

Did you enjoy this post?  If so, I highly encourage you to take about 30 seconds to become a regular subscriber to this blog.  It’s free, fun, practical, and only a couple of emails a week (I promise!).  SIGN UP HERE to get the thoughtLEADERS blog delivered to your inbox every week!

Photo: Shut up, just shut up, shut up by Matteo Lunardi

4 Responses to “How to Drive Decisions Without Saying a Word”

  1. Kacey Wilson says:

    Great post — useful for many reasons.

    I’d love to add the advice to avoid peppering your team with useless inspirational quotes as well… A clear affirmative objective should be the priority — not the aspirational quote.

  2. Duane Penzien says:

    Great Post!

    I’ve proven from experience that this really works, especially if you devote the time and effort to make certain all the hidden agendas that people have are brought up during the discussion. I’ve been amazed at the decisions that can result from this approach.

  3. […] Existe una mejor forma de tomar decisiones y lograr que la gente apoye su implementación: quedarse callado. Siga estos pasos: […]

  4. […] Existe una mejor forma de tomar decisiones y lograr que la gente apoye su implementación: quedarse callado. Siga estos pasos: […]

Leave a Reply





  • ©Copyright thoughtLEADERS, LLC. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast in whole or in part without the EXPRESS WRITTEN CONSENT OF thoughtLEADERS, LLC. Content may not be republished, reproduced or distributed in whole or in part without the proper attribution of the work and disclosure of its source including a direct link back to the original content. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content nor can you modify the content in any way. However, you may download material from this website for your personal, noncommercial use only. Links to websites other than those owned by thoughtLEADERS, LLC are offered as a service to readers. thoughtLEADERS, LLC was not involved in their production and is not responsible for their content.

    thoughtLEADERS, LLC has worked to ensure the accuracy of the information included herein. thoughtLEADERS, LLC is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional services beyond training, coaching, and consulting. Its reports or articles should not be construed as professional advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. thoughtLEADERS, LLC is not responsible for any claims or losses that may arise from any errors or omissions in our reports or reliance upon any recommendation or advice provided by thoughtLEADERS, LLC.

    thoughtLEADERS, LLC is committed to protecting your privacy. You can read our privacy policy by clicking here.