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Why Don't You Want What I Want?: How to Win Support for Your Ideas without Hard Sell, Manipulation, or Power Plays

Why Don't You Want What I Want?: How to Win Support for Your Ideas without Hard Sell, Manipulation, or Power Plays

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Why Don't You Want What I Want?: How to Win Support for Your Ideas without Hard Sell, Manipulation, or Power Plays

295 pagine
7 ore
Oct 2, 2014


Rick Maurer introduces you to a high integrity process that engages you and the other person in creating outcomes you both fully support. He shows you how to turn resistance into support and use 6 principles of engagement to help you persuade while you build the relationship and get your ideas put into action.
Oct 2, 2014

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Why Don't You Want What I Want? - Rick Maurer

Praise for Why Don’t You Want What I Want?

It’s the relationship, stupid! Your great ideas don’t count for anything if you fail to understand the importance of relationship. That’s why I highly recommend Rick Maurer’s book. It shows you how to pay attention to your idea and the other person at the same time.

Jeff Perkins

SVP Human Resources

AOL Europe

"Why Don’t You Want What I Want? provides a practical way to understand and work with resistance to change. The models and recommended actions are meaningful to engineers and change leaders alike."

Candice L. Phelan

Director of Learning Services

Lockheed Martin Corporation

Rick Maurer presents a practical guide for anyone who wants to build support for new ideas quickly. He reminds readers that agreements and successful changes start with solid relationships — essential in conducting business with integrity. A succinct, useful, and common-sense approach.

John W. Loose


Corning Inc.

Maurer gets it right. One of the best ways to reward and energize people is to pay attention to their ideas and concerns. This book shows you how to advance your own ideas while incorporating the best thinking of others.

Bob Nelson

author, 1001 Ways to Reward Employees and

Please Don’t Just Do What I Tell You, Do What Needs to Be Done

Rick’s book gives leaders great examples, workable tools, and clear explanations of what works and what doesn’t work when presenting ideas. It will help you to influence, in a positive way, a diverse group of stakeholders inside and outside your organization.

Jolene Tornabeni

Executive Vice Presdent/COO

Inova Health System

"Why Don’t You Want What I Want? helps illuminate communication and success. It shows all of us how we can ethically and effectively marshal our social influence for the betterment of our careers, our teams, and our organizations."

Othon Herrera

President & COO


Read Rick’s book — it’s filled with great ideas and techniques to help you get what you want. And you’ll laugh and ‘aha’ along the way too! It offers practical, field-tested advice to help you exceed your expectations.

Mark Victor Hansen

co-author, Chicken Soup for the Soul series

The ideas in this book really work. They have helped our executive team see the complexity of the interactions that were blocking us and become much more effective.

Donald T. Floyd, Jr.

President and CEO

National 4-H Council

Also by Rick Maurer

Building Capacity for Change Sourcebook

Tools for Leading Major Changes Effectively

Beyond the Wall of Resistance

Why 70% of All Changes Still Fail—and What You Can Do About It (Revised Edition)

Caught in the Middle

A Leadership Guide for Partnership in the Workplace

Feedback Toolkit

Sixteen Tools for Better Communication in the Workplace

Why Don’t You Want

What I Want?

How to

Win Support

for Your Ideas


Hard Sell,


or Power Plays

Rick Maurer

Why Don’t You Want What I Want?

How to Win Support for Your Ideas without

Hard Sell Manipulation, or Power Plays

Rick Maurer

Copyright © 2002 by Rick Maurer

All rights reserved

Printed in USA

Permission to reproduce or transmit in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by an information storage and retrieval system, must be obtained by contacting

Bard Press

5275 McCormick Mtn. Dr.

Austin, Texas 78734


ISBN 1-885167-56-3 paperback

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Maurer, Rick.

Why don’t you want what I want? : how to win support for your ideas without hard sell, manipulation, or power plays / Rick Maurer.

p. cm.

Includes index.

ISBN 1-885167-56-3 (trade pbk.)

1. Persuasion (Psychology) I. Title.

BF637.P4 M38 2002

650.1′3—dc21 2001058971

The author may be contacted at:

Rick Maurer



Developmental editor: Leslie Stephen

Copy editors: Rebecca Taff, Deborah Costenbader

Proofreaders: Steve Carrell, Deborah Costenbader, Luke Torn

Text Design/Production: Hespenheide Design

Jacket Design: Hespenheide Design

First printing: February 2002

Second printing: September 2014

Dedicated to the memory of

my parents, Ed and Edith Maurer.

They seldom spoke about integrity,

they simply lived it.



The Promise of a Better Way


1 The Life or Death of an Idea

2 Why They Don’t Want What You Want

3 The Art of Building Commitment

Includes interview with Senator George Mitchell, chair of the Northern Ireland peace process


4 The Right Intention

5 Consider the Context

6 Avoid Knee-Jerk Reactions

7 Pay Attention

Includes interview with Alan Alda, actor and director

8 Explore Deeply

Includes interview with Lynne Jacobs, therapist and psychoanalyst

9 Find Ways to Connect

Includes interview with Neil Rackham, researcher and author on effective sales


10 Stay Calm to Stay Engaged

11 Ways to Avoid Resistance in the First Place

Includes interview with Mariah Burton Nelson, author of The Unburdened Heart

12 What to Do When the Principles Aren’t Enough


Taking These Ideas Home




About the Author


Order Information


The Promise of a Better Way

Why are some people successful in getting their ideas accepted and others are not? And what happens when we get our way but in the process hurt our relationship with the person we have persuaded to go along?

Think about the ways you try to get what you want. What do you usually do to —

Get a good idea accepted? You’ve got an idea that you believe could really help your organization, but the one person who needs to grant approval isn’t interested. What would you do?

Influence a team? You own a small five-person business. You need this team to act like owners, think strategically, and make quick decisions on their own. But everyone waits for you to decide things. You demand, you plead, you even bought motivational tapes for the gang, but nothing changes. What would you do?

Move into new technology? Your company has relied on print catalogues for eighty years, but it’s time to move to the Internet. You can save money and provide new product and pricing information quicker and easier. Unfortunately, people in your company love their old catalogue, and you can’t get anyone interested in even seriously considering a change. What would you do?

Change the focus of your mission? You serve on the board of a local service group that is an institution in your community. The demographics of the town have changed over the past few years and the types of services you provide aren’t needed as much. You believe that your service club should reconsider its mission. But whenever you bring this up, you are treated as if you are speaking heresy. What would you do?

Create a strategic alliance? If your company formed a strategic alliance with a competitor, you could provide an unparalleled level of products and services to customers. But the leaders in the other company are suspicious of your company’s intentions. You’ve as much as said, It’s OK, you can trust us, but you can feel the hostility when you meet with them. What would you do next?

Avoid change for change’s sake? After the merger, the new headquarters team has pushed to change most business practices to conform to the way the acquiring company does things. But when you suggest that your company had a pretty good way of tracking inventory and you think they should consider adopting this system, they smile as if a five-year-old had just said the cutest thing. What would you do?

Influence a loved one? You believe it’s time to move. The house is too small, mortgage rates are low, and it is a buyer’s market. Your partner likes everything about the old place. What would you do?

Why are we influential with some people, but completely miss the mark with others? Why do people resist ideas that we think are absolutely brilliant? Why do budding agreements break down into winner-take-all contests? Are there better ways to build support for our ideas and reap benefits from them?

Most changes, new initiatives, projects, or inventions demand that others not only like the idea but get behind it. Often we need more than just lip-service compliance; we need full commitment. We need those people to help with the heavy lifting. Without their help, a great new idea may never get off the ground. Most sobering of all, some failed ideas can take the company down with them. The costs are so high and the need so great, that it may be difficult or impossible to recover from this lost opportunity.

Through sheer force, I may be able to muscle through a decision from you today, but then find that my actions have begun to damage our working relationship. Next time I come to you, you’re wary and hold back. And, over time, I may completely destroy our relationship. Just look around for evidence of this. It’s everywhere: at work, on sales calls, in civic and church groups, and at home. Undoubtedly, you’ve come into contact with someone at work whose ham-handed approach to change has alienated you to the extent that you don’t even consider his or her ideas anymore. This person couldn’t convince you to leave a burning building. And we all know of made-in-heaven marriages that end in a most human institution — the courts.

This book provides a way to meet our goals in ways that can actually strengthen relationships. This builds a foundation for the next time and the time after that. Instead of eroding the structures of the bridge between us, our strategies actually strengthen our capacity to get work done.

Many people say they want to meet their objectives in ways that serve the larger good. I believe people when they say this. I even believe it when I say it, but something happens that subverts those intentions. At the first sign of resistance, we may revert to some win-lose tactic that ends all conversation. Sticking with the other person can be difficult when tension between us is high. But, as I hope to demonstrate, staying connected is essential to get people excited about our ideas. In this book, my goal is to show you how to avoid those knee-jerk reactions that often make matters worse.

Many books on change and influence focus on making a compelling case for our cause. That’s important, of course, but it’s usually not sufficient. This book asks you to expand your thinking beyond the idea itself to include the relationship with the other person. Sometimes a person’s reaction to you or to the idea may be more important than the idea itself.

Why Don’t You Want What I Want? focuses on your relationship with a person, group, or organization: a salesperson with a prospect, an executive with a vice-president, a project leader and his or her team, or a secretary and boss. The main focus is influencing others at work, but you probably will begin to see ways these ideas apply at home and in the community as well.

Even the largest changes in organizations often begin with one-on-one encounters. For example, if I can’t convince the head of accounting that an idea is good, it will never get to the COO. As a union rep, if I can’t get the production manager interested in my ideas, I’ll be in for a fight. The ability to land a major account may hinge on your ability to convince a lone executive secretary to allow you into the CEO’s inner sanctum. This book is an invitation to pay attention to these critical relationships.

For some twenty years, I have focused my work on resistance to change. The questions Why do people oppose us? and Why do people support us? are two sides of a single coin. This book explores why people support — and why they resist us. I believe it is essential to understand both sides of that coin.

My search for answers to the challenge of resistance began in psychology, but soon expanded to management. In Beyond the Wall of Resistance, I explored some of the innovative management practices that were successful in building support for change among large groups of people. As I expanded my focus to include one-on-one relationships, my dormant background in theater came alive. I realized that the training actors receive is similar to what we need in order to stay open to other people while we hang onto our own objectives. I began combining what I had learned from psychology, management, theater, meditation, principled negotiation, and the philosophy of Martin Buber into a stew.

I’ve been using the ideas in this book with clients. People who have put them into practice tell me that they are now more influential — they get things done with fewer fights, headaches, power plays, counterpunches, and Machiavellian tactics. And they are able to get agreement while actually making the relationship with the other person stronger. So, instead of destroying bonds, their way of approaching others improves the chances that they’ll have a receptive audience in the future.

Are these ideas the last word in an approach to influence that blends our intentions with the wishes and aspirations of the other person? No. I hope others will play with the ingredients in this stew. But I’ve seen these principles work effectively in large and small situations: from helping leaders build support for a reorganization, assisting managers to integrate two departments after a merger, getting support for a new software system, or even something as small as persuading a gatekeeper to let you have five minutes with a key decision maker.

There are some instances that go beyond the scope of this book. For instance, if you are in an abusive relationship at work or home, the last thing you need to hear is that there is something else you should be doing. Get out of harm’s way, and don’t keep thinking that it’s all up to you. This book won’t help you.

And if you view everything as a contest — you love the game itself, you like to keep score, and you especially like to come out on top over the other person — you’ll hate this book.

But if you believe that there are instances at work or elsewhere in your life where you could refine the way you try to influence others to accept your thinking, please read on.


Opposition and Support


The Life or Death of an Idea

What we know is what we accept. It’s like that everywhere.

— Lorraine Hansberry, Les Blancs

Bill was CEO of a small company that manufactured and sold street lamps to cities. He was worried. What had once been a few glitches here and there in filling customer orders was beginning to look like a major problem. Customers were complaining. Orders were getting lost in the system. Specifications would mysteriously get changed as they passed from one department to another. He had to do something.

After thinking about this for some time, he decided to bring in a new software system that would change everything. A single system would allow each department to see what others were doing. No more garbled messages. No more wondering about the status of a customer’s order. Once a salesperson entered the order into the system, everyone would work from the same set of data.

Bill talked with his senior team about this. They said they liked it. He hired consultants to get everything up and running. As he talked to employees about the proposed change, he heard a few grumbles, but most people, for the most part, seemed pleased. Some even said, It’s about time.

People got training. The new software was installed, and then the real problems began. Nothing worked like Bill had hoped it would. He poured more money into the project, but things didn’t improve. He begged, he demanded, and he spent even more money to get things up and running. In the end, the costs and headaches far exceeded the few benefits his company gained from the new software.

You may know someone like Bill. You might even think you are the model for this story. In truth, Bill is a composite of many executives, managers, and project leaders I’ve known. These men and women were bright, committed to their organizations, saw a need, and tried to implement a solution, only to see the project die.

Of course there are all types of variations on this theme: why some people are able to turn good ideas into action and get the results they want, while others see idea after idea flounder and die.

Why is one manager able to capture the interest of employees in a way that they are eager to do whatever it takes to make a new project a success, and another manager meets intense opposition every step of the way?

How can a salesperson who knows her product well, and seems to know countless techniques for closing a sale, consistently do so poorly? How can another salesperson across town, who seems to use no particular technique to get people to buy, repeatedly make big sales?

What’s the difference between the person whose suggestions are ignored and the person who can present the very same idea and have others say, That’s a great idea. Let’s do it.?

Often the difference between people who see ideas turn into action and their less-than-successful counterparts is subtle. It has to do with what they choose to pay attention to once they get an idea in their heads.


In the movie version of West Side Story, Tony attends a dance at the gym. Across the room, he sees Maria. All else fades from view. He can see nothing but her. Our ideas can affect us like that. Once we get a vision in our head, all else goes out of focus. We miss the fact that Maria is a Shark and we are a Jet, and our respective gangs hate each other. We block out all the reasons why meeting Maria could be ill-timed and dangerous for her, us, our friends, and our families. All we can see is Maria. We begin to believe that our idea is worthy, so no matter what others might think, we are going to move across the gym floor right now (singing a song as we go). We want to be with Maria and we want to be with her now. That narrow focus is fine, of course, unless we are going to need the support of others — say the Jets and the Sharks — if we ever hope to see this fabled romance make it through even a single night.

Without intending it, our excitement for our ideas may make enemies out of the very people we want to join us.

Tony and Maria may have had alternatives. Of course, it would have made for a very boring musical, but there are ways Tony and Maria could have met, fallen in love, and even married, without bloodshed. But to do that, Tony and Maria would have had to expand their focus to consider other things.

When our idea demands the support of others, we have no choice but to expand our view of the scene to include the Jets, the Sharks, the history of these two cultures in New York City, timing — and the list goes on. Without this expanded field of vision our chance to live happily ever after goes way down. When we focus on just our idea or goal or vision, we create two major challenges for ourselves.

Challenge # 1: When We Get Too Far Ahead

When we get caught up in our own idea, we can get way ahead of where others may be in thinking about how to solve a problem or seize an opportunity. For example, we have a feeling that something’s not quite right — or we see an opportunity. The thought rumbles around in our brains, picking up momentum. We start to get ideas on ways to address this situation. As we think about it, we start to see solutions, then ways to implement our plan. Visions of budgets and timelines dance in our heads. We envision how good life will be after everyone implements the solution we’ve come up with. And we picture the adulation that will be ours once people hear about our brilliant idea.

When we announce the plan, it is well thought-out, complete with action steps. In the meantime, no one else has even been thinking about this issue. When we present our plan, people are stunned. The more we try to explain and sell our idea, the more opposition we encounter.

Our enthusiasm can be a good thing. It’s called creativity, intuition, and leadership. But the challenge is staying excited about our idea and staying engaged with the person who needs to support us.

The challenge is staying excited about our idea and staying engaged with the person who needs to support us.

When it comes time to implement the plan, there’s no one there to help with the heavy lifting. We see whatever potential the idea had for increased revenues, greater efficiency, improved anything

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