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Posts & articles that have helped thousands build performance through pragmatic leadership.

D.H. Lawrence & How to Sell Your Ideas

D.H. Lawrence’s first novel The White Peacock was published in 1911. When he put it into the hands of his dying mother, Lawrence could tell “she doubted whether it could be much of a book since no one more important than I had written it.”

After her funeral Lawrence showed the book to his father. He “struggled” through half a page and looked at Lawrence in astonishment. He asked how much he got for it.

“Fifty pounds.” Lawrence replied.

“Fifty pounds! An’ tha’s niver done day’s hard work in thy life.” His father said.

Sometimes even our best efforts can go ignored by the people close to us and, all too often, they can even be ignored by our colleagues.

Presenting an idea can seem an easy task at first. One can easily imagine a crowd of nodding, smiling, heads that are in total agreement. It’s harder to imagine one of your better ideas getting shot down, rejected, critiqued, or ignored.

It’s essential to remember ideas, especially in an organizational context, will always meet layers of resistance, criticisms, and (on occasion) ignorance.

The key to selling or presenting an idea revolves around anticipating the negative reactions rather than the positive reactions.

It’s not a stretch of the imagination to think that Lawrence assumed his parents would at least be proud of his efforts. Yet as his anecdote reveals, he couldn’t have been more wrong. He wasn’t expecting the skepticism and the frank, bruising, comments.

If Lawrence anticipated his parent’s reaction he would have been able to craft a better case for his passion instead of letting their attitude bemuse him.

Ideas, no matter their owner, will meet critiques and insults. It’s better to prepare for criticisms instead of taking refuge in the dream world of applause.



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