An abundance of supporters, skeptics and detractors is a part of life, whether in general, in our networks or in the organizations we are a part of. We lose energy, time and relationship in life through our lack of attention to supporters versus skeptics and detractors, as well as our lack of skill in learning from, and converting these latter, to supporters. We too often default to feelings of shock, anger, fear and betrayal when encountering skeptics and detractors. Meanwhile these encounters are always, I repeat ALWAYS, opportunities to develop and sharpen our selves and our execution, regardless of other’s intentions. Remember, no one, or few, persons can ruin a career.
When coaching on issues of skeptic and detractor management, I like to use the analogy of levees and floods where skeptics and detractors bring on floods, and we have to commit to being the levee architects who protect our reputations and objectives from these floods. Our levees are built of our reputation & kept promises, value propositions & value contribution, resources & relationships, as well as those supporters and champions who are willing to vouch for the aforementioned to our skeptics and detractors.
I coach that floods are inevitable and so must our building of levees be to combat them. The higher the flood, so much higher must be the levee. Some would say that the levee cannot be high enough.
Mantras that have helped me stay focused on “levee building” versus “flood fretting” over the years are:
- Circle of Influence versus Circle of Concern from Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”
- Lead from any chair you find yourself in from Zander’s “The Art of Possibility”
- The fact that you can only sell what you have, not what you do not have so stay focused on value you have, not value you do not. – my own mantra
- Relentlessly know your value, add value to others, and seek value others have to add to you. – again my own mantra
As I have observed this positive focus and practice in myself and others, I have witnessed seemingly hopeless situations, relationships and projects salvaged and succeed. So remember, the flood is coming so keep on building that levee!