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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Working with Dr. NO

You may have seen the James Bond movie with Dr. No.  Well, Dr. No is real and you will likely have one affiliated with your company or at least in a prospective partnering company.  Dr. No as the name implies is always the one that finds ways to complicate everything and finds it easier to say NO.  It is difficult to deal with these types of negative people and in many cases the best way to handle them is to just go around them.

Gus Levy recently was quoted as saying “Don't Tell Me What I Can't Do; Tell Me What I Can Do.”  This is not the first time I have heard this quote.  I first heard the quote from a Board Member about 10 years ago.  He was quoting a billionaire dealing with his legal counsel.   The quote stuck and has always been something I consider when finding situations reaching an impasse.

Another way of looking at the situation is what alternatives will allow for getting past the Dr. No in your crowd.  How many routes can you find to get over the hurdle that is blocking your path?  There are usually alternate paths that will lead you to achieving goals that seem to be out of reach.    There has to be a way to convince any Dr. No in order to make progress or you must learn how to go around them.

The stick-to-it attitude and innovative approaches generally help to move past the barriers.  Barriers always exist, but finding ways around or over them is not always so easy.  A few ideas of seeking your resolutions are below:

Change the question - You just showed legal counsel something and were told you cannot do what was anticipated. This happens many times.  Have them innovate to solve the problem. Change the question to “HOW CAN I MAKE THIS HAPPEN? “   

Collaborating - The other side has a negative person on the team that never sees anything but the bad.  Try to get others on the other side involved in the discussions.  Ask what it may take to help convince Dr. No to be an advocate of collaborating. Perhaps, you can convince Dr. No to identify ways to improve the deal and become a Dr. Yes. 

Team Members - There will most likely be someone on your team that believes an idea is not going to work.  Perhaps that member will even try to kill the project.  Working closely with the negative person and getting them engaged might help to change the project to one that everyone will support.  An alternative is to assign that person to a different project and eliminate them from the team.

Remember, your job is to develop unity and enthusiasm needed to accomplish what needs to be done.  Meeting Dr. No is almost a certainty.  Make sure there are no real reasons that make Dr. No correct for being negative.  Try to develop skills that will help you turn Dr. No into a Dr. Yes.  You will find your life to be much more pleasurable and more successful. 

Taffy Williams is the author of:  Think Agile:  How Smart Entrepreneurs Adapt in Order to Succeed to via Amazon