“Problem spotters” look for ways to find fault with change. They might even make-up problems to maintain the status quo.

When we have a good idea and we know that it is a good idea – we just want it to be implemented.  Yet, the ‘problem spotters’ take one look at our good idea and see all the ‘problems’ they are looking for.

Let’s say the idea is:

a school district that wants to increase online learning to provide students with options for depth of study and individualized pace of study, or

an English department in a Jr. High wants to require all students to post their completed assignments in and online platform like Blackboard so the teachers can grade from there and so that the students will have a record of their work throughout the course,  or

a science department wants to offer much more streaming video in an attempt to increase student motivation or students are encouraged.

Who can find fault with these ideas?  Sadly when the status quo is threatened you might be surprised by who is finding fault.

The following is from John Kotter’s September 20, 2010 Harvard Business Review Blog.   It speaks to the many of the issues I know we all face when we attempt to ‘put our positive oar’ in the waters of potential change.

“Consider the following scenario: You’ve got a good idea. You believe in it because you know it could make a crucial difference for you, your organization, your community. You present it with confidence, hoping for enthusiastic support. Instead, you get confounding questions, inane comments, and verbal bullets. Before you know what’s hit you, your idea is dead, shot down.

Sound familiar? It doesn’t have to be like this. There are clear, simple ways to protect your good idea, or to come to the rescue of someone else’s, and win the support needed to make a positive change. The key? Understand the unfair attack strategies that naysayers and obfuscators deploy with great success time and time again:

Death by delay. Endlessly putting off or diverting discussion of your idea until all momentum is lost.

Confusion. Presenting so much distracting information that confidence in your proposal dies.

Fear mongering. Stirring up irrational anxieties about your idea.

Character assassination. Undermining your reputation and credibility.”

Go to: http://blogs.hbr.org/kotter/2010/09/need-buy-in-invite-the-lions-i.html to continue to read and to find out what he suggests.  It might surprise you.

I recommend the book he coauthored with Lorne A. Whitehead titled: Buy-In: Saving Your Good Idea From Getting Shot Down, 2010.

Image by aussiegall via flickr