They don’t get it (…well, maybe)

I got a call from an acquaintance, Gloria, who is trying to convince her organization to adopt agile methods.

“I’ve given them every logical argument I can think of,” she said. “They just don’t get it. All I get is blank looks. How stupid can they be?”

“They” probably aren’t stupid at all.

But they may have a different frame of reference, or a different mental model.

They may value something that isn’t considered in Gloria’s logical arguments.

They may agree completely with Gloria’s argument, but don’t see how to get to where she wants them to go.

They may be afraid that if they do what Gloria suggests, their managers will be angry.

What Gloria doesn’t get is this: while logic is appealing, it isn’t always the most effective tool for persuasion.

Rather than try to win through logical argumentation, Gloria might try understanding:

what other people value
what other people fear
what obstacles other people face
what problems they want to solve.