In one of Stephen Sondheim’s finest musicals, A Little Night Music, a frustrated youth Henrik Eggerman vents, “As I’ve often stated, it’s intolerable being tolerated.”  Ever get that feeling? Has anyone ever given you lip service when you know it’s insincere? There’s an old saying that the opposite of Love isn’t Hate, it’s Indifference.

Our world is geared to maintain the status quo. Anyone with a radically new idea that rocks the boat is told to sit down, sometimes politely—sometimes not. People are resistant to change—even fearful.  In a survey conducted by futurist Joel A. Barker and Ms Kennedy, 95 percent of 3,000 leaders representing over two dozen countries and thousands of businesses reported that resistance to change in its many forms was the top challenge to new thinking and new ideas.” Rick Maurer cites studies indicating that nearly two-thirds of major changes in corporates fail. Also relayed by 80 percent of chief information officers was that resistance – not a lack of technical skills or resources – was the main reason why technology projects failed. It’s that soft, touchy-feely, human reaction of resistance that matters. And rarely do people resist other than by “tolerating.”

But how can you tell when you’re just being tolerated?  And what do you do about it? Here are some questions to consider:

  1. Do a gut check–how important is your message to you?  You have to pick your battles. Are you willing to upset the apple cart to win your point?
  2. How important is the individual who is merely tolerating you?  Is it critical to change this person’s thinking in order for you to succeed?  Can you bypass or postpone and still move forward? How important it is to win over this individual will be directly proportional to the timing and strategy you deploy.
  3. How resistant will this individual be to your proposed change and why?
  4. What can you exchange or modify that will give you concessions to your most critical points in return?

There are several pathways to living your life in crescendo. Stay tuned for some answers.

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