Anticipate and Redirect Resistance to Come to a Mutual Agreement with Your Ideas
How to disarm someone’s resistance when coming to them with a new proposal
Aikido is a modern Japanese martial art. It works by defending yourself from your opponent by redirecting their movement flow to protect them from injury at the same time.
A similar concept works with resistance in a business setting. As you exert your influence on others, sooner or later, you will meet with resistance and objections. Just because our proposals or ideas are met with resistance doesn’t mean we have to shut down.
At the same time, we don’t need to aggressively counter-attack others’ objections. Much like an Aikido master, you can respect and redirect resistance when it comes to reaching a mutually agreeable solution. I do it all the time, and many kids are experts and practice it intuitively.
When it comes to deflecting market resistance, Ethan Brown, the CEO of Beyond Meat, can teach us some pretty deft maneuvers. Brown knew that his plant-based meat substitute product would be a tough sell, even if it is great for the environment and people’s health.
Though other meat substitutes that sold themselves as the “greener,” healthier choice were embraced mostly by vegetarians and vegans. Among meat-eaters, however, the product received a less-than-welcome response. Being told that their current diet was unhealthy and irresponsible made meat-eaters feel scolded.
Brown anticipated many purist meat-eaters would resent giving up the real red meat they enjoyed. Instead of focusing on abstinence in a way that the Meatless Mondays movement does, he framed his product with the word “Beyond,” suggesting an enhanced product. It’s a clever use of redirecting the flow.
Brown’s next obstacle was selling the taste factor. His solution was to partner with fast food franchises. Brown created meatless versions of typical treats we all know and love — like burgers, pizzas, and subs. He convinced the public that plant-based meat substitutes could be as tasty and satisfying as regular meat. In 2019, Beyond Meat’s sales reached $98.5 million.