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  • Writer's pictureDel Chatterson

They’ve already decided

They’ve already decided

Don’t waste your time

Early in my career, I learned an important lesson about the ability to change minds with  facts and logical reasoning.

Based on my original degree in mining engineering followed by an MBA, I was recruited by an international firm to do management consulting – often for mining companies. One assignment during a labour dispute at a mine in Ireland required us to do an exhaustive industrial engineering study on the production methods and the bonus compensation system used to pay the miners for higher efficiencies. After weeks of data collection and analysis we presented our detailed analysis and conclusions separately to the union and to management for their negotiations. Interestingly, they both came to the same conclusion. “I knew the bastards were cheating us!” Exactly what they thought of each other before we started.

I see the same decision-making process in current headlines about the pandemic lockdowns. Based on analysis of the same widely shared statistics, health care professionals conclude we have saved millions of lives around the world, while some economists conclude we have paid a huge economic price with very little effect on the rates of infection and death. The differences in conclusions arise from different perspectives, different value systems, and different assessments of personal self-interest versus the public interest.

If you want to successfully change minds and behaviour, or achieve reasonable compromises, you need to ask yourself a few questions before you start your own persuasive presentation:

  1. Who am I talking to?

  2. What are their belief systems? Shared values?

  3. Will facts and logical reasoning be considered?

  4. Should I make a more emotional, personal appeal?

  5. Do we have a common goal, in spite of our differences?

  6. Can they be persuaded or have they already decided?

It may be time to accept they are not going to change and you will have to carry on without them. Not everyone can be persuaded to be reasonable and do it your way.

C’est la vie. Life goes on, and we go our separate ways.

Be better. Do better. 

Del Chatterson, your Uncle Ralph

Learn more about Enlightened Entrepreneurship at: Read more of Uncle Ralph's advice for Entrepreneurs in Don't Do It the Hard Way & The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans - 2020 Editions.

Read more Blog posts at: LearningEntrepreneurship Blogs

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