Starting doesn’t mean controlling. It means initiating. Managing means controlling, but that’s an entirely different skill.” – Seth Godin in Poke the Box
I’m no longer surprised when people who’ve spent their lives around driving people to change (i.e., forcing change upon others) assume the worst intentions of these new people driving change (i.e., choosing a change for themselves and clearing the way for others to follow).
These suspicious people are caught in the management assumption Seth Godin outlines in the starting quote of this post. When all you’ve ever seen is people managing or controlling others, you automatically assume that someone starting or initiating something is only doing it to gain control over people.
See my Life Outside the Fences post about wolves, sheep and sheep dogs for another telling of this growing folk tale.
How can you win over the suspicious people to give you room to start something? You can’t win them so you just have to start something and let them be suspicious.
I’ve found the fastest way to convince people that starting something isn’t about controlling something is to start something and then dutifully discipline yourself to not take control of others. If you start something powerful and actively choose not to order anyone to join you, you will win followers faster than any pre-action conversion of skeptics ever could.
Bottom-line: Start, then don’t manage others. Be a sheep dog, not a wolf. Drive change. We need you to act and we need you to act now.
Why not try?