The Broccoli Principle

Broccoli is healthy. You want your kids to be healthy, so you want them to eat broccoli. Unfortunately, your kids won't eat broccoli. It tastes oogie. It looks wicked gross. And George H. W. Bush made it okay to just say no to the stuff.

All of that healthy broccoli is of little use if it stays on the plate. That's The Broccoli Principle: It doesn't matter how healthy it is if they won't eat it.

The Broccoli Principle applies to your proposals, too, and not just to yucky healthy food. No matter how beneficial you perceive your proposal to be, your impeccable idea will produce little value if people won't adopt it. And people will adopt your proposal, or not, for their reasons, and not for yours.

If you want people to adopt your proposals, understand their reasons—that is, their values and expectations—and relate your proposal to their reasons.

Experiment: Think of three times when someone asked you to do something, and you chose not to do it. What were your reasons for not doing it? What were the person's reasons for wanting you to do it?

Experiment: Think of three times when someone asked you to do something, and you chose to do it. What were your reasons for doing it? What were the person's reasons for wanting you to do it?

Experiment: Ask three other people to answer those questions. Compare your answers. What patterns do you find in your reasons?

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