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Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.Albert Einstein

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Managing Sensitive Projects: A Lateral Approach

Managing Sensitive Projects: A Lateral Approach

How can one conduct a project that encounters strong opposition?

Author(s): Olivier d'Herbemont, Bruno César

Publisher: Routledge

Date of publication: 1998

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How can one conduct a project that encounters strong opposition? This is the delicate issue addressed by Bruno César and Olivier d'Herbemont in this original and enlightening book. They suggest a pragmatic and remarkably efficient approach known as the “lateral project strategy”.
The first step is realizing that our perception of the position of the various stakeholders in the project is often misleading. We naturally draw our conclusions based on reactions of which we are aware. However, the virulence of the objections expressed by opponents, for example, is far from being representative of the relative weight of their opinion. And the silent majority is often forgotten in the clamor, although this group is decisive to the success or failure of the project. Identifying all the players concerned or affected by the project to avoid neglecting anyone is thus a critical prerequisite to action. It is then possible to draw a clear panorama of the concerned players and address each group in a suitable manner: identify allies on whom you can rely; seek ways to convince the fence-sitters, even if the project must be modified to meet their needs more closely; prevent die-hard opponents from destroying everything by attempting to convince those who are merely dissatisfied, but who could still change their mind.


Implementing a new idea in the face of opposition thus takes a lot of listening and a
willingness to adapt the project many times over to gradually widen your circle of allies. This book offers a value interpretive framework to do this.