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Top tips to constructively push back against the status quo



As leaders within the not-for-profit sector, we frequently find ourselves at the forefront of driving change and steering our organisations towards new directions. Yet, change can be difficult and pushing back against long-held ways of doing things can meet resistance. The key is to constructively push back in a way that brings others along and builds understanding, rather than creates defensiveness. Here are some valuable tips to help you constructively push back against the status quo.


Build Strong Relationships


The foundation for any constructive pushback is building strong, trusting relationships. People are more open to new ideas from those they respect and trust. Establishing different views is okay and it's the positions, not the people, being discussed. With strong relationships in place, challenging conversations can happen without damaging relationships.


Tell Compelling Stories


Data and facts are important, but stories bring ideas to life in a way numbers can't. Share stories about why this issue matters to you and how it affects others. Stories help people connect ideas to their own experiences and values. Tell the story of your shared goals and vision to build enthusiasm for progressing in new directions. Stories engage hearts as well as minds and make change feel inspiring rather than daunting.


Collaborate to Co-Create Solutions


Rather than just presenting problems or your proposed solutions, collaborate with others to co-create new ideas. Involve those impacted in designing solutions from the start. Test ideas on a small scale before widespread implementation to build evidence and support. Co-creating shows respect for others' perspectives and expertise. It engages people as partners rather than recipients of change. Collaborating leads to innovative, well-supported solutions people feel invested in.



Constructively pushing back and driving change does not mean going it alone or insisting your way is best. It requires bringing others with you through building relationships, sharing compelling stories, and collaborating to co-create innovative solutions. Approaching change in this way minimises defensiveness and resistance while maximising creativity, buy-in and long-term success for initiatives that disrupt the status quo.


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