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Barriers are frustrating but make you better at what you do...

Understanding the value of barriers

With any new development, project, initiative, or service, there are always going to be barriers to progress. It's how you deal with these barriers and show your mettle that defines your success.

In this blog we talk about how to break down barriers. In particlular we use our experience if breaking down barriers to reuse programs.

The number of barriers in place are inversely proportional to the number of people who have success. That’s the way success works, you can't have everybody being successful.

It's only the ones who persevere and get through those barriers that find success.

Mountain or a molehill?

For example, if climbing Mt Everest was easy, everyone would be doing it and it would not be considered a successful thing to do. However, because Everest has a million, zillion, trillion barriers, there's very few people that can actually do it. So then, in effect, if you climb Everest, you become successful.

It's the same launching a business.

Only around 2% of the population have a business, and that’s because it’s incredibly hard. There's barriers at every single moment of every single day in every single year. Those barriers, and how you react to them,  view them and tackle them will eventually be the definition of your success. If you view a few barriers as an opportunity to prove yourself, to grow and as an opportunity to learn, those barriers stop looking like barriers and start looking like the next logical steps on your journey. They're just little stones in your shoe on your journey towards success. On this journey you'll take many steps. You might have 100 barriers to climb over, and end up with shoes full of stones, but if you can keep on walking, you’re on the right path.


Only you can stop you

Now, there are different types of barriers, but none are insurmountable. If you think about going to the moon, at some point a child may have been reading a comic, in the 20s or 30s, about rocket ships. Maybe he had this idea, "One day I want to go to the moon." With that thought he set off to school and became an astrophysicist,  then he met other astrophysicists and they got together and they created a plan for going to the moon. Then they actually achieved it. Imagine how many barriers there were! Nothing is insurmountable if we can get to the moon based on the power of our ambition.

There are different types of barriers. Some barriers are people based and some are emotionally based. Some barriers involve organisational culture. Some barriers are technological. Some barriers are financial. All of these barriers can be broken down if you follow some simple rules.

Advice from an expert

In Gareth Kane’s blog he advises to ask questions with the voice of a child. Why? Why? Why? Why is this happening? Why is this like this? Are we there yet?

A nice way that we like to break down barriers, if there’s a resistance to a proposal or change, is to ask the person with the objection what they like about their current process. Then they start waxing lyrical about the current process. Try to notice that when they're waxing lyrical, sometimes they identify issues and problems they actually face at the moment. These are pain points. Then we stop and ask them, "Can you talk a little bit more about these problems that you're facing? Why do they happen? What sort of problems do they cause you?". When they are openly talking about the problems that are in their life and in their process, that's when they come up with answers to solve the problem. If these match with some of your objectives then they will be more bought into your proposal . Your suggested programme has to solve those problems for them or offer ways of finding the solution to those problems. That's when you successfully break down that barrier of resistance.

Get them to generate the idea themselves!

If you explore the objections in depth and specify the problem that is being faced as comprehensively as you can- the solution will bubble up. If you are seeking to improve the process, this will hopefully match your objectives. . How do you do that? You organise a workshop and you propose the problem that you want them to solve. Those people go away and they come up with a solution. Those solutions will be probably what you're proposing already, or something close to it, and maybe even better! You’ve then got to bridge the gap between their idea and yours.

Financial barriers...

If you want to read about this in depth, you should have a look at our article ‘How to get senior management on board with reuse’. Breaking down financial barriers is all about proving the business case. What value is the project going to bring to the organisation? You might be actually doing it to avoided spending and procurement, it might be based on time saved, it might be on reduced space, or even reduced rent. Look for key performance indicators or drivers that you can identify within the organisation and then present a robust business case revolving around that.

Did this article help?

We recommend reading this interview with David Mazzocco from the Wharton School of Pennsylvania.


Download take a look at our 10 best tips for dealing with objections to your ideas:

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Joseph Kennedy

Joseph Kennedy

My journey is education, communication and innovation. My destination is a world free from environmental collapse, ecological ruin and unbreathable air.


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