Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Prevent Good Ideas from Being Shot Down

Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Prevent Good Ideas from Being Shot Down

Article excerpt

Educators aren't alone in facing resistance to new ideas. Management guru John Kotter, who typically consults on business challenges, cautions that it's one thing to generate ideas, but gaining support is an entirely different story. When you try to do that, "you're in the murky land of human nature and group dynamics," he said.

Kotter said resisters employ four broad and common strategies to kill ideas: fear-mongering, death by delay, confusion, and ridicule. In his new book, Buy-In: Saving Your Good Idea from Getting Shot Down (Harvard Business Review Press, 2010), Kotter lists the 24 most common questions, arguments, and comments that resisters use to shoot down leaders' ideas. Although all of these came from business situations, educators will find them very familiar. Just a sample:

* We've been successful, why change?

* You're implying that we've been failing!

* Tried that before, didn't work.

* You'll never convince enough people.

* We're simply not equipped to do this.

* You exaggerate the problem.

* No one else does this.

* This isn't the right time. …

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