Book review: Buy-In: Saving Your Good Idea From Getting Shot Down

Emma De Vita reviews John Kotter and Lorne Whitehead's new book

Off the shelf
Off the shelf

Have you ever had a great idea shot down by your boss? Perhaps it was a new way of raising money or a great way to motivate the team. It might have been something you spent ages pondering - you might even have talked it over with a colleague over a pint after work. You then plucked up the courage to pitch the idea to your manager, hoping for enthusiastic support, but instead got confounding questions, irrational negativity or - even worse - your presentation dismissed with a wave of a hand.

In Buy-In: Saving Your Good Idea From Getting Shot Down, John Kotter and Lorne Whitehead identify four nay-saying tactics - death by delay, confusion, fear-mongering and character assassination - and then tell you how to deal with them. In fact, they advocate a counterintuitive approach: instead of going in with an aggressive counter-attack, it's better to engage respectfully with your adversary and stand your ground by providing convincing ripostes.

Actually encourage your boss to critique your idea - it'll be better to tackle the doubts head-on and prove your worth. Try to think of yourself as an X Factor contestant up in front of the judges. Be polite and persuasive, and keep smiling ...

- Emma De Vita is books editor of Management Today

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