Give Me Time To Recognize Your Genius

joe —  Mon 21-Mar-11 — 2 Comments
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Football HitI never really understood the obligatory post-game handshake between two football teams. Here are two teams that just finished the last three hours beating the snot out of each other and now they are expected to raise a smile and say “nice game”. While they will eventually get to that point, I am pretty sure that they don’t feel it at that moment.

Don’t get me wrong, I totally believe in sportsmanship and dealing graciously with winning and losing. I just don’t know how one can expect such a dramatic change in two minutes.

That’s because you can’t – and it is no different in the business world or any other part of life. We all have what a friend of mine calls “take-up time” If you want to lead others with a new idea you have to really understand this simple piece of human psychology.

Take-up time is the processing someone requires to go from their current direction or view to accepting a different direction or view. It’s all of the little emotional states that one encounters to understand that change is being asked and that they need to accept it and then finally support it.

Everyone requires a different amount of time to process course changing material. Did you ever present someone a new idea that you thought was naturally brilliant only to find they were very resistant; the more you tried to convince them the more they dug their heels in? Then a couple of days later it appears as they magically got it and are on board. You really didn’t have to do anything, just let it lie. This is take-up time.

Brilliant Idea FlowchartThe hard part for us as leaders is that we assume the reason the other party isn’t on board is because we haven’t sold them. Our natural reaction is to talk more which is usually the polar opposite of what is needed. The more we try to sell the more it looks like an idea that isn’t good enough on its own.

Everyone needs time to get comfortable with a new idea. Some people can do this in a couple of minutes while others might take weeks. Some of this time is dependent on how radically different the idea while another part of the time depends on the individual’s personality.

The key here is to understand when to stop selling and when to just let someone get comfortable with an idea. You don’t need to go back every couple of hours and push a new angle. Just sit back and wait. If they have questions, make yourself available to answer them. Trust that they will ultimately come around. They still may be skeptical but if the idea is a good one they will in all likelihood agree to the new direction – with time.

Respecting their take-up time will go a long way in building a trusting relationship.

Today’s Question
Do you know what your take-up time looks like?

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  • http://twitter.com/michaelhughesua michaelhughesua

    I am logical and dismissive, usually because I have not accepted a basic premise of the other’s argument and therefore the conclusion looks flawed. Later, when I have an Aha like “Well, there’s nothing that says the user would not…” then I reconstruct the rest of his argument and see the validity of his conclusion.

    Here’s the rub. Some of us are reflective and will continue processing these things and get that Aha. But some will never give it another thought. From my usability testing days, I see that there are two categories of world view: One that holds there is a single, objective reality, and one that holds there are multiple, subjective realities. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the former to get around to reevaluating your argument.

    • http://thestrandedstarfish.com Joe Kleinwaechter

      Great points, Mike!
      I am definitely a multiple subjective realities person therefore agree that your position of there being only two worldviews that hold true for everyone is your reality, it is not mine. In my worldview, only the latter exists and your belief that there are people that believe there is only one objective reality is indeed a subjective reality.

      I think you are 100% on about people dismissing your idea, if they are allowed to dismiss it. In some situations they may have to ultimately have to get on board whether they agree or not. My point was don’t expect an immediate “I can’t wait to get started” until they have had some take-up time.

      In those cases where they don’t have to get on board, one still benefits from take up time. Let the idea settle, let the psychological processing work its natural order before trying to take the next step. In your case, if after letting you set with the idea for a couple of days where you were searching for “Aha” or “His argument is still flawed” I would approach you to see the trigger point of why you think my logic is flawed.