Buy In, by Author (Hardcover, 2010)|
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Mark Lamendola, author of over 6,000 articles.
If you are in any kind of organization (family, Fortune 500 company,
baseball league, City Council, etc.) and wish people would engage in
honest discussion instead of shooting down your suggestions, this book
is for you. Once you've read it, you never again need to see your ideas
minimized, bullied, mischaracterized, or delayed indefinitely. In fact,
you'll know how to turn potentially fatal attacks to your advantage.
This book is a "must read" for anyone volunteering for anything.
Having served on several nonprofit boards, corporate task forces, and
other venues in which getting the group to move forward is hugely
challenging, I wish I'd had this book long ago. In my various roles, I
had developed some of the same strategies and tactics the authors
present. Most of us do this, I think. One problem, of course, is we
don't develop the full suite. Another problem is knowing what to do and
being able to do it while under attack are not the same thing (how often
have you later thought, "I wish I had said....").
I've observed that the people who tend to get their ideas accepted
also tend treat others with respect. But this is very hard to do when
you are presenting your idea and constantly being interrupted by a
loud-mouthed idiot whose statements are flatulent at best.
Many other challenges also arise. The key is preparation. You can
"pick up pointers" over many years by watching others succeed or fail
and then analyzing what happened. Or, you can prepare by using this
The scope of this book is how to handle objections to your plan or
idea. The authors stick to that, and never venture outside their area of
expertise. The book doesn't tell you how to properly prepare an
argument, conduct research, vet information sources, prepare a financial
analysis, or conduct a feasibility study. They are good things to do,
but people who do all of these things, and more, can find their plans
and ideas shot down anyhow. That's where this book comes in.
There are two kinds of objections: Reasonable and unreasonable. It's
this latter category that is so tough to handle. People with an agenda
other than honest discussion put forth unreasonable objections, with the
intent of shutting down your program. This happens so often and causes
so much needless waste and frustration, that a book on how to handle it
fills a real need. This is that book.
The authors group these objections into four main strategies:
- Death by delay.
- Fear mongering.
- Character assassination.
After thinking about this categorization and trying to find flaws in
the authors' approach, I have to say I think they have nailed it. Every
kind of obstructionist attack is a variation on one of these four
This book consists of eight chapters in two parts.
- In Part One, the authors provide a theoretical case history to
illustrate how to handle obstructionist attacks.
- In Part Two, the authors describe the method for handling
The theoretical case takes place in the theoretical town of
Centerville, with the reader as a key character in the story. I found
this both engaging and educational. And I could relate to many of the
In discussing the method, the authors explain those four strategies
in Chapter 5. Then in Chapter 6, they explain why you should actually
welcome these attacks, and how to turn them to your advantage. Chapter 7
covers twenty four variations on these four themes and provides a
response to each. The authors don't expect the reader to remember all
twenty four, though doing so may be advantageous. Seeing these
variations on the four themes helps the reader more thoroughly
understand and recognize when one of the four themes is being used and
how to counter it.
Chapter 8 provides four steps for saving a good idea. The appendix
provides eight steps for facilitating change in a large-scale
This book includes no political proselytizing or factual errors,
making it rare among today's nonfiction titles. There was no
bibliography, but in this case one wasn't needed. The writing style
shows a high degree of craft; the authors are outstanding writers.
I'm very happy with this book, and highly recommend it.