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Knowing how to justify and convince the legitimacy of the change approach is based on a solid argument.

Introduction

« We can convince others by their own reasons, but we only persuade them by their own ». Joseph Joubert

One of the main difficulties faced by a change leader is, of course, the differences in points of view between the people involved: manager, middle management, operational, subcontractor in some cases….

Preparing one’s arguments against different objections is essential in a change approach. This will allow you to :

  • Take a step back from the situation. 
  • Ask the right questions.
  • Standardize the message.

Construct an argument

1 – The linking words

The joints play an important role. They give the logic of arguments and highlight the order in which they follow each other, helping to understand the path of thought. The table below presents them :

Logical relationship

Logical connector

Function

Addition, addition, gradation

And, Moreover, Also, Also, By the way, Above all, First, Then, Finally, On the one hand, On the other hand, Not only, But still, Also…

Adds an argument or a new example to previous ones.

Parallelism, Comparison

Similarly, in the same way, as well as, like…

Establishes a connection between two facts.

Concession

Despite, No doubt, Despite, Although, Although, Even so…

Lets you find facts or arguments opposed to your thesis, while maintaining your opinion.

Opposition

But, On the contrary, Gold, However, Yet, On the other hand, While, While, Nevertheless, However…

Lets you contrast two facts, two arguments, often to highlight one of them.

Causality

Because, Indeed, Since, Because, Because, Due to, Under the pretext that, As far as…

Lets expose the origin and go back to the cause of the fact.

Result

So, therefore, that’s why, hence, from where, from then on, so that, so that, therefore,…

Allows to state the result, the result of a fact or an idea.

Conclusion

So, So, Finally, In Summary, In Brief, Finally, To Conclude, In Conclusion

Allows you to conclude an argument.

 

If our argument is written, these logical relationships can also be made via :

  • Paragraphs: shorter paragraphs will give a feeling of dynamism. We can, to rise crescendo in our argumentation, make paragraphs shorter and shorter
  • Punctuation : we can play on the different punctuation marks. The table below gives the different possibilities.

Sigle

Explanation

:

Introduce an explanation, cause or example

() ou – Apportent un détail supplémentaire
“” Highlights a word or phrase

2 – Choose the types of arguments

There are different kinds of arguments that will allow us to put in place our strategy of argumentation. We find 2 families of arguments: the real ones and the false ones, the latter being thus non admissible.

Name

Description

Example

Logic

This is a rational argument, its truth is consistent in itself.

To be free is to refuse slavery.

Value

It refers to a commonly accepted value system. Its validity, necessarily limited to people sharing these values, does not win the general acceptance.

For a Frenchman, a meal without bread is not a meal.

Experience

Based on observation and experience, they are often the order of the day.

People who are afraid of others are often aggressive.

Authority

The author resorts to the bond of a famous man, recognized in the field, to legitimize his own affirmations. But this recourse varies according to the cultures, the eras, the ideologies…

As Einstein wrote, “Inventing is thinking aside”.

Common sense

It is an argument of the same type as authority, replacing the illustrious man by a way of acting or thinking common to all.

We will do everything to protect our own child.

 

Care should be taken to avoid the following arguments which will only result in discrediting you if they are discovered by your audience :

  • Petition of principle :  Called also the starting postulate, it presents an argument that should be demonstrated. 
  • Sophism:   This is a way of presenting a cause and effect link, voluntarily or not (in this case, it is a paralogism).
  • Generalization :  We make a particular case a generality. 
  • Amalgam : Two unreasonable events are misinterpreted.
  • Ad hominem :  It is used to discredit someone by attacking not his ideas, but his person.

3 – Choose the type of reasoning

The way in which the arguments are linked is very important to facilitate understanding and support our thesis. We present below the different types of reasoning.

Name

Description

Use

Inductive

We start from the observation of a particular fact to arrive at a general conclusion.

Techniques to demonstrate and prove.

Deductive

It is the opposite of the indiction, one starts from a general idea to deduce a particular solution.

Analogy

One proceeds to a rapprochement, allowing us to extend the observation of one over the other.

transitivity

We go from A to B, then from B to C, which makes the link between A and C.

Reciprocity

It is explained that A is at B what B is at A.

Elliptical

We let the audience or the reader make the conclusions himself while having directed.

Concessive

We admit a fact or an argument that contradicts our thesis, but we maintain our opinion. Or it is considered acceptable that part of the opposing thesis.

Techniques to refute.

Critical

We demonstrate the invalidity of the opposing arguments one after the other especially using the words of opposition links.

Absurd

We show that the opponent’s arguments lead to logically false consequences.

Implicit

One can also use a finer reasoning where the arguments are not clearly said but suggested implicitly.

Techniques to demonstrate or refute.

They have the interest of suggesting that both the speaker and the audience are intelligent, and to create a connivance that facilitates dialogue.

Irony It consists in explicitly saying one thing, while making understand its opposite.

Example: Why do we change ?

As part of a progress initiative, the first staff question will be “Why change?”. The facilitator will have to justify this necessity. For his argument, we will use arguments of type Common sense or  Experience.

Data is then to collect, list that we detail below

1. Diagnosis and vision

The challenge is to have a clear and clear inventory of the situation. A change approach is based on trust, it is necessary that these figures are verifiable and not questionable.

This diagnosis must be compared with the vision that we want. It is this “gap” that will justify the need for change. This vision must be clear and easily understandable.

2. Disadvantages of the project

To sell “all pink” is not the best strategy. Being aware of the disadvantages of the project and knowing how to explain it is a pledge of confidence.

3. The role of everyone in change

It is necessary to be able to explain what everyone will have to do during the phases of change. Bring ideas, share them or apply them are part of the operational roles.

4. What will not change

As part of a Lean Six Sigma initiative, we are making step-by-step improvements. It’s also a way to do less “fear” To further reduce the ” anxiety” of change, it is necessary to highlight the elements that will not change.

5. The risk of not changing

It is known that immobility leads to loss. It remains to be seen what loss. Without wanting to create a feeling of terror, it is necessary to be aware of what we risk if we do not evolve.

6. The indicators of the approach

To be clear in the sharing of vision, the change approach must be measurable. A series of indicators must be put in place and shared to make sure that we are going in the right direction and know how to recognize successes.

Source

O. Dahan, B. Hetet (2014) – Les fiches outils du changement

A. Tonnelé (2011) – 65 outils pour accompagner le changement individuel et collectif

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