Few people want to go out on limb all by themselves to show support for an idea without knowing who else will be backing the project. No one wants to be left standing alone outside the group feeling stranded and exposed.
This article continues the break down of dealing with the individual fears that prevent people from taking action on ideas with today’s topic is Fear of Standing Alone.
I called this entry Fear of Standing Alone, but it could also have been called Fear of Going First.
This phenomena happens at a lot of social events — high school dances come to mind. The music is playing, the lights are flashing, but all the kids are lined up all around the gymnasium walls. It stays this way until one couple (or even an individual) is brave enough to start dancing within the line of sight of the other students.
There’s a fairly famous video of this happening at a music festival. One guy shows no fear and starts dancing all by himself, and then within two minutes he’s joined by a rush of hundreds of other concert goers.
It can be tough to get a person to raise their hand and stand-up to be the first to do anything. You’re increase your odds of successfully recruiting your first supporter by lowering the risk level as much as possible. Show them it’s not the end of the world if the project doesn’t reach its full potential. You may also want to target individuals who have built up enough credibility to withstand the potential of the concept actually failing. A person who has racked up a bunch of big wins won’t be impacted as much by taking a gamble that doesn’t pay off. This is part of your effort to minimize an individual’s personal risk of involvement.
Another tactic is to line up tentative supporters in advance of officially unveiling a primary supporter. You approach selected individuals as ask them for their support when you launch. If they hesitate, ask if they’d come on board if X, Y, or Z-person was involved.
You want to choose these other individuals based on your ability to recruit or influence them. Perhaps it’s a mutual contact you both have on LinkedIn or Facebook, perhaps one of the people is a client of the person you’re trying to bring on board.
You will have more success if the people you intend to leverage as influencers are a level above the primary person you’re trying to recruit or are individuals with whom your prospect wants access.
The most important person that needs to step up and support your idea first is YOU.
Be sure that you’re setting the example of common sense support and promotion of your idea. If others see that you’ve made the bold stance of publicly supporting that crazy idea, perhaps they won’t feel so alone with you standing by their side.