Here’s the thing to remember when you’re trying to win support for a complex or controversial project or initiative:
Forgive me for geeking out here – Star Wars is playing on the tube. (The one, the only, the original; you can call it Chapter 4, but it’s still No. 1 with me.)
It has nothing to do with you. We still like you.
But unless you’re saving small children or cute animals (and sometimes even then), lots of folks are likely to see you as the Evil Empire for lots of different reasons.
As a result, those who oppose you – no matter why – naturally form a coalition that will be more energetic, less sensitive to internal conflicts and more focused on the issue at hand than any group you’re likely to assemble.
Unlike you, whose goal or goals are complex and nuanced, their goal is simple: stop you.
As a consequence, you have to assume that your opponents are going to hang in until the end and that the risk of them unexpectedly zapping you in a vulnerable exhaust port at any time is always there.
Ultimately what dooms any Empire – at least the benign ones – is the failure to take seriously its Rebel Alliance and begin immediately responding to the needs and concerns of its members.
Doing so may restore peace immediately or, at the very least, by the end of the project. And listening and responding likely will peel away bits of the Alliance until you too can say:
“Perhaps you refer to the imminent attack of your rebel fleet? Yes, I assure you, we are quite safe from your friends here.”