Recently while working with a client, I encountered one of “those” people. You know “those” people: the ones who have “already tried that and it won’t work”. The ones who seem to relish in the idea that the world is coming to an end and they are going to be the first ones dried up on a rock.
The naysayers of the world.
“Those” people drive me nuts. Because they are always vocal. Think about it, you never really see a negative person that just keeps to themselves? NO! They feel like it is their duty to darken YOUR day, to rain on YOUR parade and to squash YOUR dreams, goals and aspirations.
It’s sad really.
Attitude is everything and theirs stinks to high heaven.
Obviously, one should avoid these people at all costs. Don’t let them dump their garbage into your mind. Period. But, in the situation I was in recently–there was no getting away from him. He was part of our session–a very vocal, loud, persistent part of our session.
I couldn’t very well tell him, “OK, you stay here, the rest of us are going to move to another conference room.” (Oh, how I wanted to, though)
I kept the session moving and going forward and the rest of participants were extremely positive and ready to take on some challenges. But, “negative Nelly” kept interjection every now and then.
Part of me wanted to ignore it and hope he’d get tired, but finally I asked, “So, why don’t you think it will work?”
“It just won’t.”
“But, why won’t it?”
“I’ve tried it before.”
“I realize that, but why don’t you think we can make it work–or at least achieve some level of success with it now?”
“Because I tried before and it didn’t work.”
You see where this is going–and it went on like this for a few moments as I tried to find out why this person was so against trying a new twist on a sales strategy. I never got a straight answer and finally he gave up and decided to come along for the ride. Keep in mind he wasn’t out front leading cheers, but at least he was with us.
Later it was determined the reason he “knew” it wouldn’t work was because it would cause him to change his routine–get him out of his comfort zone and change his work habits. That was it. It all boiled down to a resistance to change–or a fear of what that change might bring.
In the end, the project worked beautifully and everyone (including our friend) seemed to like the results. But, how much time (and heartache) would I have saved if I realized earlier that his negativity stemmed from fear and change (and the fear OF change)?
So, if you have someone who seems to be more negative toward an idea or strategy that everyone else in the room–think about what the new process will mean to them. Chances are the negative vibes are simply a defense mechanism.