Enrolment in Change

by | Nov 1, 2020 | Change |


Change makers experience push back, barriers, objections daily. We seek enrolment and yet, it can be difficult to enrol others in the change you seek. This can be frustrating and annoying. However, it can also be a signal we are on the right track. Therefore it is also important to try to understand the objections better.

It is too easy to dismiss them, downplay them. But, we do this at our peril. When we respond with belittling and annoyance, we tend to make the objections greater, rather than reducing them. One of the best responses to objections is ‘Tell me more’ and to truly listen. People want to be heard, to be seen, to feel they matter. Listening does that. And by listening we can learn heaps about objections and how we can improve our communications to address those objections.

Objections come in many forms. However, according to enrolment theory, most of them can be grouped into 5 categories. Each category is like a layer, therefore the 5th is the deepest.

  • Time: I don’t have enough time.
  • Money: I don’t have the money right now. This applies to a project or business budget as well.
  • Partner/Manager: My partner or manager is not on board because they sense that I am not on board. If my partner/manager is not on board, my certainty has to overtake theirs. (Sometimes we use the partner/manager objection as an excuse to mask the fact we are not yet enrolled.)
  • Fear: I am afraid if I pay and try it and it doesn’t work, then I must be the problem.
  • Shame/Self-doubt: Sometimes I pay for things, but I don’t really do the work.

Thankfully enrolment theory also has recommendations on how to overcome these objections. However, it is critical to understand that we usually need to start with the deepest category (shame and self-doubt) and work our way up.

  • Tribe (time): A network of other people doing it, helps overcome this objection as it becomes an invitation to belong.
  • Team (money): Most change is an investment into your future self or future organisation.
  • Inner circle (partner/manager): Developing an inner circle of people around takes the pressure off your partner or your manager. Sometimes you need to borrow certainty from others and the ‘others’ doesn’t always need to be your partner or manager. You need to borrow from an inner circle to get your partner and manager on board.
  • Partner/Manager (fear): Your partner/manager can help remind you that you are not a problem. That your worth and identity is not wrapped up in this change project. You are more than this.
  • YOU (Shame/Self doubt): It all starts with you). It is critical for you to enrol yourself before you enrol others.

What would you add?

Photo by Sara Bertoni


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