One of the mistakes leaders frequently make is that they pitch their idea or solution before they’ve prepared people to be able to respond. Leaders often will see ahead of others that there’s a problem or need. They pre-think the solution, then gather people into a group. They may do some type of processing or listening exercise to try to get ownership of the issue, but then jump ahead to pitch the solution. Then they’re surprised when people don’t want to do it.
What step did they miss? Giving people enough process time to prepare them to be able to embrace the change. You never want to go into a meeting without knowing that there’s already readiness and openness to receive and embrace the idea. Instead of trying to go through the whole process in one meeting, have two– the first where they’re thinking about the problem and the second where they’re thinking through possible solutions. In between the meetings, tell people to pray about it and next time we’ll brainstorm and talk about what God may want to do. Then have some individual conversations in between to see what people are thinking.
Float some trial balloons and see what kind of reaction you get. Sometimes there’s not support because it’s not the right idea yet. Sometimes people need more cultivating before they are ready to commit to a course of action. If you talk with people one-on-one, you have a better chance of knowing.
The key is to separate the discussion from the decision. The mistake leaders make– often because we’ve been thinking about the issue for a long time– is not giving people we work with the same courtesy we’ve given ourselves: time for processing. Why should we be surprised when people don’t come to the same conclusion we have when we’ve only given them an hour to think about it? Very few of us like new ideas when we first hear about them…. and that’s especially true when we haven’t thought of those ideas ourselves.