Beyond The Seven Seconds Gap

Jul 31, 2021

Bringing transformation is hard even when it is change you believe in and purpose led.


I find that we don't talk enough about what it really takes to bring that change... the resilience, the confidence, the having to constantly engage people who don't really get it. And having to ensure that the immune system of the organisation doesn't out right eject you.

I was recently speaking with one of my clients about the 'seven seconds' syndrome. When you are that innovator, that pioneer, that change maker and you say something... It is usually followed by seven seconds of silence (at least).

And then you see a part of the room pick up their phones so they can just ignore what you said, another part look blank as if they didn't hear anything and others start to tell you automatically why you are wrong without having really understood what you said. If you are lucky you might have that one person who is curious enough to actually ask you a few questions.

The thing to accept is that that is normal - and that managing that consciously is actually the job of a transformation agent. I am not saying it's easy - just that evolving things means navigating all that.

So beyond reacting, here are some ideas...

*Come Prepared: The art is to first expect it and manage it upstream - even before you have got into the room. Manage potential naysayers offline and one to one. Build strong partnerships with allies who will bridge what you say and will give legitimacy to it.

*Don't Let It Affect Your Confidence: We all have a tendency to rely on external validation. And so we are really affected by people's reactions. Deep down it is because we have never fully embraced our own value. This is particularly strong in natural innovators who often feel like misfits. Strengthen your own perception of your value.

*Step Into Their Shoes: Bridge to what they want and need. How can you relate back your vision and ideas to advancing something they care about? How can them following you give them more of what they want

If you are a transformation agent trying to have a positive impact and finding it hard, get in touch at [email protected]. We can have a chat to see if I can help.