You cannot get rid of your tenured colleaguesâ€”even the idiots who got tenure by luck or by cheating. So you must get your points past them.
Seb pointed me to a post about meeting power.Â It got me to reflect on my techniques:
- Frame the debate along an axis that favors you. Find a way to divide your potential opponents so that some of them will be forced to take your side. Be an extremist if needed. (“What? I cannot offer my database course? Who thinks databases are unimportant here?”) After all, you cannot be fired, so you might as well express yourself and force people to take sides.
- Quote your friends and agree with your opponents. Especially in academia, people react more favorably to quotes than original words. You simply sound more convincing when you start out by “As Professor Smith said ealier, (…).” When an opponent makes a good point, underline it.
- Propose concrete solutions. Merely stating your opinion is not sufficient. You should propose specific actions, specific compromises, and move them forward. I have won more battles than I can remember by submitting a specific proposal for approval.
- Know the facts, know the rules. The academic setting is complex, filled with rules, statistics and even more rules. If you know the rules of your University more than your opponents, you can often win debates before they even begin. Do you know how many students took this course you are proposing to abolish? Make sure you do.
More reading: The 15 Laws of Meeting Power