All of which brings me to the world of business, which isn’t very different than the world in general. People will believe a course of action is correct until convinced otherwise. Not when presented with evidence to the contrary, but when convinced to the contrary. Providing data that supports the general consensus, preaching to the choir, is easy. It’s when you are interested in changing people’s minds that you have an uphill battle. This is when you need to employ the soft sciences.
Moving in a new direction is done so by treading lightly. You can’t assign blame for the current way of thinking/course of action. Stakeholders have to agree they want the same basic outcome and then you present your case for an alternate course to get there. Part of what you present is the quantitative data that led you to this new way of thinking, but as discussed in a previous blog post, you also need qualitative data to help bridge the gap. Storytelling, narration, explaining the how & why of what is happening all help your case more than just showing up with statistics and sales figures.
Sometimes you can’t convince everyone. Sometimes people just won’t hear a contrarian point of view. The best chance to change minds is to make your point of view seem both logical as well as attractive. Numbers alone will not change people’s minds. People need convincing and convincing takes storytelling. Stories are more desirable than raw data. Whether you are presenting your proposal in-person or remotely using an app, find ways to incorporate qualitative data (not just quantitative data) into your story.