Accept 100% responsibility for your outcomes and accept that there’s another person in the discussion with their own set of needs, wants, desires and outcomes. This is somewhat of a paradox, but it works.
You only have 100% control over your own behaviour, not the other person’s. All of the techniques that follow will increase the probability of success, but they won’t guarantee it.
However, believing that the outcome rests on a 50:50 interaction actually weakens your going-in point.
Focus only on what you are responsible for (your own behaviour), but don’t give any responsibility to the other person for getting your outcome.
Whatever comes up during the conversation is of your own creation. This refers to your thoughts, feelings, attitudes and behaviours. Short of having a gun pointed at your head, no-one can make you think, feel, say or do anything you don’t want to. Accept personal responsibility for how you perform during the interaction.
In business, it serves us well to think in black and white terms about outcomes. Either you get what you want, or you have reasons (or excuses!) as to why you didn’t get them.
Spend some time getting rid of any excuses you may have about not performing well in the upcoming situation, and all you’ll be left with afterwards is results.
If you don’t believe in what you’re selling / proposing, either change your beliefs or get out of the game.
Consensus and compromise are not the same. In compromise, some people are always left feeling they have lost, however subconsciously. Each party gives up some of their position. In consensus all the elements are valued and the win/win is created. In consensus the answer may be entirely different to anyone’s starting point or it may contain elements of them. In consensus, every one wins.
Keep communicating until there is resolution. This is achieved through continuing to communicate openly, honestly and without blame.
Of course, consensus can appear to be harder to reach than compromise, but that is always because some or all people are invested in their need to be right and find it difficult to let go of their positions. Consensus is often easy to define provided that people keep in mind what is in the best interests of the venture, of the team, of the other person.
If we maintain a distance from others, any communication will feel to them as an attack, and they will respond as if they have been attacked. It is essential to close the distance between ourselves and others so our communication can be effective. Once we have had the courage to close the distance then we can say anything to the other person and they, not being in reaction, will typically respond in a more positive manner.
By “closing the distance” what is meant is to really engage with the other person as a human being, to focus on them with compassion and understanding, to be genuinely interested in them and how they are doing. †
You don’t have to be right – be open to the possibility that you have something to learn from others. This will make you more receptive to their communication.
Insisting on being right means we lose the opportunity for learning or change, and we risk alienating the people around us. We don’t have to give in or give up, we just need to be willing to listen and learn from people around us.*
It is an unfortunate aspect of our work culture that “being right” is seen as a good thing. It is worth fighting this attitude that sticking to your guns – despite all the evidence that a contrary position would be more helpful – is a sign of leadership when it is precisely the opposite. Of course, we are not advocating being wrong, we are simply suggesting that it will be helpful to you and your colleagues to let go of any attachment to being right, any need to be right.
This might be the ultimate precept in terms of its simplicity and obviousness, yet it can be the hardest to implement. For our awareness and understanding of the world is entirely mediated by ourselves: our beliefs and thoughts, our emotions and feelings, our capacities to perceive and understand, our judgments, projections, and the rest.
Some people believe that the world is only what they can perceive. It’s helpful to draw away from this extreme view because it does not allow us (or anyone) to make any generalisations from what we perceive others’ perceptions of the world to be. We assume there is a world out there which is neutral and unaffected by us.
If one has rigid views on how people should behave, how we should be treated and so on, we are bound to be disappointed. The world may not agree. It is as it is, and the most useful approach to it is to seek to understand it and act accordingly.
One of our starting points in discussing leadership is Serve to lead, which is the motto of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. What this is saying is: “if you, Mr or Ms Trainee Officer, expect to lead that squad of soldiers, you had better be in service to them first”. This raises issues for many British people who equate service with servitude and servility. Yet it is something else completely. Being in service is an approach, it isn’t a value judgement, and it’s an approach which turns out to be very useful if you want to lead someone.
Serve to lead is a good motto. Arguably it is a little too concise, though, and instead we use the precept Make the other person more important than you. This precept is deceptively simple: it couldn’t possibly have any real effect. But try it. For 24 hours, make everyone you meet, not just the people at work, but everyone (and not just the ones you select, but everyone), more important than you. You do this by using this precept to continually inform the question “what is the most useful thing I can do [or say] now which makes them more important than me?” and you then do, or say, that thing.
Being in competition looks, on the face of it, as if it is a recipe for healthy growth. But in reality it is all about making my needs more important than yours. Competition is little more than a socialised, conventionalised fight which we use as an excuse for not moving forward into partnership.
by Jeremy Marchant . © 2011 Jeremy Marchant Limited . uploaded 15 june 2015 . image: Free digital photos