A Shortcut To Making Change: Piss People Off

Most people walk on eggshells. They’re afraid to voice what they really think or do what will actually make change because, well, they don’t want to piss anyone off. They’re afraid of hurting someone’s feelings, maybe even getting fired by offering a divergent thought from a more senior team member or “the way things have always been done.”

But the truth is, as counter-intuitive as this sounds, you should absolutely say it. Especially if it is going to ruffle feathers. In fact, skip the talk: if you can go ahead and do something that might piss someone off but it’s in their interest – go for it. Some of the most dramatic (and positive) changes in the world required upsetting someone.

If your company is afraid to publish anything digitally, but you see a demand in the market – flesh out a strategy and just start doing it. Get the senior team out of their own way, they may even thank you for it later.

I was able to create a 6 figure Facebook fan page for a national brand before that brand thought Facebook was a good idea. In fact, that brand wasn’t doing anything in the social web. Now they have a full on strategy across channels, are putting sigificant budget behind it and integrated social in everything from POP to their national TV buys. I pissed a lot of people at that company off by executing despite being told “no,” especially their digital agency who didn’t think social media was a good idea. Funny, now their digital agency is managing the social presence for the brand (it’s a huge, well-known company, you know them).

But it’s not just spotting trends and putting them into action. It’s anything, in all aspects of life. Most people are afraid of change and to say it bluntly: need to be brought kicking and screaming into the future. Yet it’s way more fun to be the one doing that than always asking permission (which is in many cases too slow).

I’ve argued before not to be afraid of having opinions or taking sides, but I think you need to even go a step further than that. Never being afraid to upset someone. I actually respect the heck out of someone who will say something they consciously know will upset me but it’s the right consulting.

It’s not easy to do, but it’s exactly what you might need to.