One-Day Expert Program: Overcoming Resistance: The Influence Equation | Harvard University

One-Day Expert Program: Overcoming Resistance: The Influence Equation | Harvard University

Whether we’re negotiating, giving feedback, managing up, or leading change, we are all familiar with resistance. We lay out a perfectly rational argument and, seemingly inexplicably, the other party resists. Maybe they say no, or more confusing, they seem to agree but don’t follow through.

Have you ever experienced resistance when ...

Despite having put together a reasonable proposal, your counterpart says, “no, my hands are tied”? And no matter what you do, they claim to have only limited discretion to negotiate with you?

You develop a better way of working—a new process or procedure that clearly meets your organization’s goals—but your colleagues still drag their feet?

Someone makes extreme demands in a negotiation, followed by small, slow concessions—or none at all?

As you meet with a promising direct report to coach them on problematic behavior, they nod, say they understand, and agree to make the changes; yet weeks later, you notice the same behavior?

In human interactions, resistance is inevitable. What to do? Pushing harder tends to increase the resistance. But giving-in not only leads to suboptimal results, it teaches your counterpart that resistance is a winning strategy. The key to influence is deciphering the cause(s) of the resistance and mitigating them.

Through breakout sessions, exercises, role plays, and other hands-on experiences, Carlebach will explain what to do when you encounter resistance. This session will introduce you to the Influence Equation—a simple, high-impact framework that can help you identify and overcome three major factors that fuel resistance in any given negotiation:

1. Reasoning: As you make your argument, are you using your own logic or your counterpart’s? Do you know what would be persuasive to them or are you just focused on what’s persuasive to you? Who are their experts? What language or ideas will best resonate with them?

2. Interests: If you’re getting “no,” then your counterpart is not seeing how your proposal meets their needs, wants, or concerns. It’s crucial to understand the interests that motivate your counterpart and then build these into a “yesable” proposal.

3. Relationship: If your counterpart doesn’t trust you, expect resistance, either overt or covert. Understanding the reasons behind your counterpart’s distrust is critical to strengthening the relationship and getting to “yes.”

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November 2 - November 2, 2023