14 ways to turn blockers into champions: Part 2 – What to do if they’re not giving up

Posted on September 22nd, 2015 by

This is the second in a series of posts on countering Belief perseverance. Part 1 can be found here

In Part 1 we discussed how time consuming it can be to convince blockers to cooperate in what seems like a perfectly logical sourcing project and gave you 4 great ways to turn blockers into champions.

So, what else can you do to steer this stakeholder round to your way of thinking? In the second in the series, we suggest a few more ideas.

5. Use a group situation to obtain stakeholder buy-in

Villejoubert et al.₁ have found that Belief Perseverance is stronger when a person’s mind is made up on their own rather than in group situations, so hold group stakeholder awareness sessions front-end as part of the sourcing project to help them see the benefits of your plans (but beware of letting the blocker have soapbox time – see below).

6. Break the commitment–consistency link

As the stakeholder has already declared his allegiance to the incumbent supplier, they feel a need to remain consistent with this commitment₂ by continuing to block your project and are likely to dig their heels in – putting spin on the facts in order to suit their own views. Moreover, their Belief Perseverance may be strengthened when facts are presented to them, as the stakeholder will try to generate counterarguments to support their commitment. You need to find a way to allow them to ‘save face’ when they change their mind i.e. when they become inconsistent. Instead of expecting them to denounce the incumbent supplier, it may be easier to focus on creating a new commitment with regards to an alternative supplier.

7. Be objective

Be aware that you have your own commitment–consistency link and are also prone to being selective about evidence in order to support your own belief in your project. Make sure your arguments are objective, accurate and based on facts. For example, ensure that your selection scorecards are appropriately weighted and include criteria that reflect Business Needs rather than being biased so that Procurement can achieve their goal and beat a blocker.

8. Do not ask them to or give them a chance to explain their belief to others

As Cialdini₂ describes, a person’s commitment to a point of view is strengthened by public declaration, so avoid allowing the stakeholder to talk to others about how they love the incumbent supplier.

9. Take advantage of Confirmation Bias

Your stakeholder is more likely to believe something if it supports a belief that they already hold₃. So find something in your project that is in line with their pre-existing beliefs, e.g. if they believe that good sourcing should consider value as well as price, then highlight how the alternative suppliers can provide extra benefits to the project.

Look out for the final 5 ways to turn blockers into champions – coming out this Thursday


If you would like to find out more about how to counter Belief Perseverance or improve your Stakeholder Management give us a call on +44 (0) 1543 466835 or fill in this quick form.


₁ Villejoubert, G., Khan, M., & Vallee-Tourangeau, F. (2013). The role of circadian variations and socially distributed thinking in belief perseverance. In M. Knauff, M. Pauen, N. Sebanz, & I. Wachsmuth (Ed.), Cooperative Minds: Social Interaction and Group Dynamics: Proceedings of the 35th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, Berlin, Germany 31 July-3 August 2013 (pp. 1534-1539). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
₂ Cialdini, R. (2007). Influence: The psychology of persuasion. HarperBusiness.
₃ Arnold, C. (2013). Diss information: is there a way to stop popular falsehoods from morphing into “facts”? (Scientific American) Retrieved May 8, 2014, from Scientific American: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-to-stop-misinformation-from-becoming-popular-belief/