3 Pitfalls that Cause Projects to Fail

Below you will find Peter Block’s answers to all of the questions he did not have time to answer during “The 3 Pitfalls that Cause Projects to Fail” webinar.

Dean: How can one isolate bad behavior on the part of a powerful individual that is creating serious resistance and impeding trust?

Peter Block: You have the question right, Dean. No use in trying to change the one committed to low trust. You cannot resist or confront the behavior. What you can do is build support among those around that person. Engage them with each other about their intentions and raise the question with them how they can support each other more in the face of the one undermining trust.

Jim: As an ABCD consultant to neighborhood CBOs and Residents …. negotiating a “contract” with residents is tricky since they, typically, are seeking to be taken care of vs. being assisted. Do you have any suggestions for negotiating with residents?

Peter Block: Jim, you see the dilemma of learning passivity or internalized dependency. Rather than the language of negotiation, which assumes they will show up as equals, you might simply keep asking them what they want in the moment. Treat them as free agents, and when they trust the environment, they might answer the question of what they want. Lecturing them about their possibility is useless.

Deb: I work as a facilitator for a Restorative City trust and facilitate restorative conferences and community decision-making. I have been working with a consensus decision-making to help people make decisions that they all engage with and follow through with. What is your approach when a decision must be made, one or two people cannot move forward with the group?

Peter Block: You are doing wonderful work, Deb. Thank you for that.
Give up the idea of literal consensus. Create space for people who refuse to say “I pass” at moments of decision. Otherwise, you will reject them or make them lie to go along. Invite them to stay connected, but not let them hold things back. Consensual decision making is to believe in the patience to hear all points of view, but not be strangled by a vote.

Rebecca: I’m looking for guidance on how to be heard and seen in my bro-dominated workspace. I participate on teams but constantly feel like that what I share is ignored and not heard. I’ve experienced directly sharing feedback and then watching how when the same concept is repeated by a male colleague the group goes along. Looking for guidance on how to show up in my own power and be seen and valued for my contributions.

Peter Block: Rebecca, you see the world as it often is. You likely showing up in your own power, and often it has no impact. There is nothing to “do” or “fix” about it in the moment. What is unbearable is the loneliness of it all. Where are your allies? How can you choose to support each other? What you can commit to is to reduce the isolation of those around you who experience the same thing.