Dealing with Difficult People using Porcupine Theory

Brad Cork of Improving People has a nice piece of advice for dealing with difficult people that he calls Porcupine Theory. Brad writes:

Every person has gold in there, it is just that for some of them it is buried deeper than others. I have a management theory that I call “Porcupine Theory”. It says that when you come across prickly people, ignore the prickles and talk to the person underneath. As you do this you will find that over time the bristles lay flat and the spikiest people become your greatest allies. Our gut reaction is usually to try and deal with the spikes. This only makes the porcupine personality even more spiky. As of yet I’ve never found a person that porcupine theory doesn’t work for.

One Response to Dealing with Difficult People using Porcupine Theory
  1. Rob A Carr
    August 10, 2007 | 8:38 PM

    Great approach. I share it. Often we personalize their prickliness as well. It's often not about us…and even if it is, our ability to speak to the person underneath often causes the spikes to "lay down"

Dealing with Difficult People using Porcupine Theory

Brad Cork of Improving People has a nice piece of advice for dealing with difficult people that he calls Porcupine Theory. Brad writes:

Every person has gold in there, it is just that for some of them it is buried deeper than others. I have a management theory that I call “Porcupine Theory”. It says that when you come across prickly people, ignore the prickles and talk to the person underneath. As you do this you will find that over time the bristles lay flat and the spikiest people become your greatest allies. Our gut reaction is usually to try and deal with the spikes. This only makes the porcupine personality even more spiky. As of yet I’ve never found a person that porcupine theory doesn’t work for.

One Response to Dealing with Difficult People using Porcupine Theory
  1. Rob A Carr
    August 10, 2007 | 8:38 PM

    Great approach. I share it. Often we personalize their prickliness as well. It's often not about us…and even if it is, our ability to speak to the person underneath often causes the spikes to "lay down"