July 25, 2008

Focus on Benefits, Not Obstacles

Al Gore's challenge to have 100% of our electricity come from "renewable resources and carbon-constrained fuels within the next 10 years" has provoked many a can't be done comment. Here's the reaction though that is really worth remembering:
"But that's the thing about visionaries.  They don't imagine what's easy.  They imagine the benefits to be reaped once all the obstacles are overcome."

Bob Herbert, The New York Times, July 19, 2008 op-ed column
Focus first on benefits, not obstacles.  

It is sound advice for anyone trying to inspire and rally others to take on a desirable, but very difficult, change.  Whenever I am doing the same and I encounter resistance, I usually drop back to this question, "Recognizing that it won't be easy, do you believe it would be desirable if we were able to make this change?"  

Doing so doesn't deny the obstacles, but it helps get people committed and enrolled in the pursuit as opposed to standing on the sidelines and adding their own resistance and skepticism as yet another obstacle.

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