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Without doubt the most important specificity in the job of a change leader, being able to convince without a hierarchical link is a prerequisite for setting up tools..

« The best way to impose an idea on others is to make them believe that it comes from them » – Alphonse DAUDET


An agent of change continuously animates transversal projects. Working on a diverse problem (Improvement of the quality in the workshop …, reduction of the Lead Time for the management of the claims …), it is systematically integrated within the team of which it knows neither the exact trade nor the persons in charge of these tasks.

However, it must lead them to change the way of working to achieve the desired goal of the project.

In hindsight, we know it, impose its ideas, make them pass in force … does not work in the long term. The challenge is to be able to make people adhere to his ideas without going through the hierarchy.

And this is all the more difficult because there are so many “ vision” different things that there are people.

The notion of convincing

Let’s review the classics, and come back a few centuries ago. For Cicero, “convince oneself to prove the truth of what one affirms, to reconcile the benevolence of the listeners, to awaken in them all the emotions which are useful to the cause. It is based on three elements :

    • The Logos : the reasoning and logic of construction of the argument.
    • The Ethos : posture and style of oration to capture the attention of the audience.
    • The Pathos : the emotions that the speaker is trying to provoke to the audience. 

Further back in time, we find Blaise Pascal. According to him, “the art of persuasion consists as much in that of as in that of to convince, as men are governed more by caprice than by reason “. Convincing would therefore implement reason, based on facts and figures. Persuading would be part of a logic of the heart, where one would seek to move and touch the other in his or her inner self..

Convince VS Persuade

By definition, to convince is to use rational and logical means to demonstrate the truth or the falsity of a fact. We will only use an intellectual approach by using knowledge and knowledge to address the reason of our interlocutor and make it join.

This approach is opposed to persuasion. Having more objective to make believe that to make join, the persuasion will use indirect means, to see irrational, while playing on the affective, the feelings, the emotions…

1 – Know how to position yourself

Which Change Facilitator never said at one point in the project What am I doing there ? What am I serving  Faced with a team ? he knows neither the profession nor the people, it is not always natural and obvious to find useful and relevant.

The first asset to convince your audience is to feel comfortable knowing their added value.

Your added value as an agent of change

Through your mission, you have several axes of added value :

    • Your added value of Trainer: You have specific knowledge related to more or less complex Lean 6 Sigma tools. One of your missions will be to train staff in the process and its tools they are not aware of.
    • Your added value of Informant : Working transversally, you know how other services work and what their missions are. It will be easier to compare services, their organizations and their interactions.
    • Your added value of Facilitator : Often compartmentalized in services, staff do not have access to hierarchy or other services. You YES. In this, depending on difficulties encountered, you can unlock situations by knowing how to find the right people.
    • Your added value of Naive : As outside the scope of work, you have a fresh look on it. You can see the waste more easily.
    • Your added value of Voice Maker : Through your business, you know how to look for factual arguments to demonstrate the need to improve and change. Thanks to this, you will be more listened to by the decision-makers and you will be a relay for these people who for example asks for a long time to change this or that equipment..

What does your audience expect

With regard to your mission and your skills, they will wait for you :

    • You are a knowledge base of the company. You know all the services and know the different atmospheres, conflicts … that there may be. The project team will be waiting for this type of information.
    • You are in good control of the state of the company in terms of indicator : lead time of this workshop … People are waiting for this information to compare themselves and you can wisely use them for the challenger .
    • People are going to put things like “the purchasing department is not doing its job “, it’s the quality department’s fault that is changing us too much.often the control criteria … Thanks to you his people will be able to trace their problems and better be heard.

2 – Adapt your communication to non-hierarchical management

Management in a non-hierarchical context is based on the relational quality and expertise of the person.

The fundamentals of interpersonal communication

Because, above all, we are relations beings, this science is interested in the links that we weave daily with those around us  (friends, colleagues, family …). They have in common :

    • Continuity : it is necessarily in time.
    • Consistency : each relationship has a structure (father / mother, team leader / employee …)
    • A mental representation : I have an internalized model of the relationship.

This excludes superficial, casual or circumstantial relationships. The relations that we weave can be schematized in the following way :


Know how to convey a message

The perception of a message is based on 3 categories : the verbal at only 7%, the paraverbal at 38% and the visual at 55%. From this observation and from the fact that we are relationship beings, we deduce the following axes as essential to ensure good communication. :

Pay attention to our body language : Representing 55% of our message, our posture has a significant effect on how people perceive or react to your message. Some examples below :

Body sign

Audience interpretation

Relaxed hands and open palms

Sincerity, openness

Crossed arms

Defensive or aggressive attitude

Free hanging arms

Open mind

Slightly inclined towards people

Show that we are interested


Constantly moving or playing with an object (pen …) will distract people and reduce the impact of our message.

Pay special attention to the tone of your voice : Representing 38% of the quality of our message, we must think of all the intonations you can give to a “yes” or a “ no “. From these simple words, one can express doubt, anger, indifference…

To facilitate comprehension and help to make the message come true, it is necessary to maintain a volume and a timbre of natural and calm voices..

Listen actively: During the conversation, try asking open questions, gently probing and periodically checking that you understand what is being said. This will show your respect to your colleagues by giving them your full attention. We will take care not to interrupt them.


Know your interlocutor: Every person is what he is as a person and has a function in the company. Its function is simple to know and we can deduce some elements about what it expects. There is also the ” Who ” is this person as a human. We can then help ourselves Whole Brain Model to perform this analysis and adapt our speech.


Cunderstand the “messages ” of your interlocutor : During the exchange, your interlocutor will like you express body messages. It will be necessary to decode them to analyze them and to adapt your attitude and speech according to these reactions. We will be able to use the NLP.

Paraphrase, recap and summarize: When you paraphrase, start by saying, ” It seems like … ” or ” If I understand correctly … ” or “” So what you say, it’s … , and then repeat in your own words what you have heard and understood. This will allow all the interlocutors to evaluate the position of each one and also to check if the message was well transmitted or not.

Respect the living space of other people : During a face-to-face conversation, it is very important to respect the space and the perimeter of life. interlocutor. A very simple rule is to leave this person and you the length of an arm. If you are too close, the person may feel uncomfortable if you’re too far away, she might think she’s intimidating you. Find a happy medium where everyone will be comfortable.

3 – Treat resistance behaviors

Often, an agent of change will face difficult behavior from one or more people. However, it must be adhered to the project or at least ensure that it does not put ” sticks in the wheels ” and lead it to failure.

We will have to evaluate the situation by asking the following questions :

    • Are we facing a person who has a continuous behavior of resistance : Due to most of the time paradigm, we develop below (“ What to do depending on the behavior” ) some tips to know what to do.
    • Or just a person who resists for a short time ?: in this case, we will only use techniques to “ deal with objections“.

Whatever happens, we should not be moping in the fact that the person can change or not. We are all as we are, we must take a step back, adjust our behavior, do with people and especially keep his cool and not lose the sense of proportion.

Deal with objections

General Process for Addressing Objections



1. At first, have the right behavior

You have to let the person express themselves and show him sympathy. It is useless to immediately argue.

2. Accept the objection and rephrase it by asking questions.

Once the person has been allowed to “ let off steam”, we will test the validity of this objection. For that, we will reformulate it to make sure that we have understood and to show that we take into consideration what it says. A bond of trust is created by getting the person to respond and take a positive attitude.

It will be reformulated as a question. For example : ” I do not think it’s useless to make tool prints, because we always find them “. We will question the person via  “If I understand correctly, you never lose tools ? ».

3. Argumenter

We will use an objection as our best argumentation. « You still find them, but can you easily find them? Do not you think that we can do better. Do your colleagues find them too easily ? »


Some rules

If the objection annoys you because you do not know how to answer it on the spot or because it contradicts the presentation you are doing, we note it to show that we will not forget it. to give you time to think about it later. Never give a false answer. We thank the person for his objection and specify that we will discuss again later.

If it becomes impossible to overcome an objection because the facts can not be refuted, try to minimize the objection or highlight the benefit of the solution you want to implement.

One must not fear objections. First, because it is an important source of information because it reflects the mood and concerns of the team. Secondly, because they will allow us to continually propose positive alternatives: “You do not like kanban cards, we can do kanban by location or double box or even with a ping pong ball. ».

Some objections indicate that the person is positive to the proposal. When he says words like :I suppose, I wish I could, if I could, maybe I could, I should ” In this case, it is useless to continue our story long to convince him, but simply to reassure the interlocutor by saying “Do not worry, you will quickly get used to using this type of Kanban. We will train. “

The most frequent objections



I have to talk to colleagues.

It’s better indeed, like that, everyone will agree. We can go see them together when ?

It does not interest me to put this in place, we have no problems.

Before I say that, I will show you by example what it can bring you.

We are busy, no time to do that.

 Lean 6 Sigma is part of your job. The time you take there is nothing to the gains that these actions will generate.

We already put this in place, and it did not work.

It’s possible. What did not work What did you do How ?

What to do depending on the behavior ?


NameDescriptionWhat to do ?
The grumpy
They complain constantly, but do nothing to remedy the cause of their complaint.

They may feel unable to do anything or they may refuse to take responsibility for a solution.
Listen attentively even though it can sometimes be very difficult. Accept what the grumpy or the grumpy says by paraphrasing his complaints without acquiescing.

Prepare to interrupt and take charge of the situation. Naughty people like to talk to say nothing. It will be answered in such a way as to force it to stick to the facts to solve the problem.

Avoid falling into the attack-defense-counter-attack cycle where one defends a charge and is then charged again. Indeed, the grumpy grunts often and we must expect to restart this strategy from the beginning several times and therefore do not give him the stick by staying on the facts and only on the facts ...
The undecided
They can compromise a program because they put everything on the back burner, until it's too late to do anything.

They are so slow in making a decision that it is taken for them.

Ils s’acharnent sur une tâche pour qu’elle soit parfaite, ce qui n’est jamais le cas.
Speak openly about problems so that it is easy for them to be honest.

Help them solve the problem (s) by ranking all the solutions in order of importance.

If possible, keep your hands on the tasks for which you are responsible.

Be on the lookout for any sign that they are drowning under pressure to make a decision.
The conciliatory
They seem very reasonable, sincere and cooperative, at least in our presence.

They often do not do what they promised to do.

They sometimes act contrary to what they have led us to expect from them.
Make sure the franchise is not intimidating. They fear that we will not listen to the truth.

Do not let them commit to doing something that is not feasible.

Be willing to compromise so everyone wins.

Listen when they joke. It is usually at that moment that the truth comes out.
The negatives
They oppose everything.

They are convinced that everything that is proposed is doomed to failure or unachievable. Too often, they undermine optimism for a project.
Avoid sinking into negativity and showing our realistic optimism.

Do not rush to propose solutions.

Use their negativity in a constructive way: it's never bad to have a devil's advocate.

Be ready to take the project in charge with the support of the other team members if you can not change their attitude.
Madam or Sir, I know everything
They are convinced, and would like to be convinced, that they know everything you need to know about what deserves to be known.

They are usually condescending, imposing or pompous.

They try to give others a feeling of inferiority.
Do research on the subject to be able to have a minimum of respondent. Many are at Bluff.

Listen carefully and tell them that we understand what they are saying.

Ask them questions using firmness, but without confronting them. They hate to be wrong.

If they really know things, avoid having to play the counter-expert and let them be the experts they claim to be.
Silent passives
They answer every question and call for help with a yes, no, or a grunt, and sometimes with an "I do not know".Ask open questions.

Gaze at them silently, but amicably.

Leave long pauses in the discussion to invite them to fill in the silence.

Comment on the course of the discussion.

Repeat the statements that have already been made, if any.

Strive to break the tension by helping them to express their thoughts.

Limit the duration of exchanges.
The hostile aggressives
They try to intimidate and overwhelm others by bombarding them with words.

They make sharp comments or get angry when they fail to impose their will.

They are convinced that their way of seeing is the only one that is valid.
We will remain courteous and we will avoid direct confrontation.

Give them time to express their criticisms. Once the storm is over, we will defend our position without threatening or rushing them.

If the person remains stubborn, seeing becomes violent, it is useless to beat each other. It will be put back in its place by letting him choose his camp: It will be with or without him.
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