Logical arguments are never enough

“I strongly suspect the things people believe in are usually just what they instinctively feel is right; the excuses, the justifications, the things you’re supposed to argue about, come later. They’re the least important part of the belief. That’s why you can destroy them, win an argument, prove the other person wrong, and still they believe what they did in the first place.” He looked at Erens. “You’ve attacked the wrong thing.”

Iain M. Banks, Use of Weapons

Very few people get happy when they are proved to be wrong, especially if it is in a public setting. If we want to create lasting change in the people around us, we need to take this into account. It is not possible to get someone to change through rational arguments or logical reasons. People have to want to change to actually change. Otherwise they will just find the reasons to keep doing whatever they want. The reason why most organizational changes fail is that they didn’t start with the people who actually need to change. We need to create a dialogue about what is working and what isn’t. We need to invest the time and cost and involve everyone who is affected by the changes. I can’t remember who wrote it but I like this version of the saying much better:

“If you’re not part of the problem, you can’t be part of the solution.”

If you don’t admit that you have done anything wrong, if you don’t admit that you have to change as well. Then you are part of the problem.