This article is part two of the series How to Prioritize for Achievement. Read part one: Talk About and Share your Priorities here.
In the article Talk About and Share Your Priorities, we presented the concept of “What We Value Is What We Prioritize.” Talking about and sharing your priorities is the first step of prioritizing for your specific goals around growth.
When you bring what you value, and what you want, to every conversation, it’s easier to know what you do not want, too.
Every conversation is a type of negotiation – there is intention and desire and outcome.
The second step is knowing where the edges of what makes you comfortable form. When you reach and pass those edges, usually the resulting feeling is that of being taken, feeling pushed over, and even feeling loss.
Knowing what you don’t want is as important as knowing what you value.
Forging interactions that build relationships and trust involves becoming creative about solutions, particularly ones that benefit every part impacted by a chosen outcome. It takes time, commitment, and creativity to discover possible solutions that each party perceives to be positive and supportive of their goals.
When you are unclear about what you want, either with yourself or when presenting wants to another, the ability to have meaningful conversations are limited. It’s hard to find a win-win for people present in the discussion and those not present when there is a lack of clarity. The word “compromise” comes to mind.
Compromise boils down to being respected and feeling understood. Yet, most of the time, we experience a reaction in our memory or body that is negative when we hear the word. The negative reaction stems from us – when we didn’t really know what we wanted.
Every interaction is a negotiation.
You may be thinking that what I’m talking about is for BIG business (and BIG personal) decisions. You are right. I would be remiss if not telling you that you are also missing something big.
Every person filters every situation and every choice because humans inherently want to to be good. What ‘good’ means to you is learned by how you were raised, your personality, and even your risk tolerance.
Recognizing you want what’s ‘good’ from your experience increases awareness that what’s ‘good’ from another person’s viewpoint can be very different. That insight alone brings a bit of curiosity to the forefront, opening the conversation to create as much clarity as possible.
There is a services company I’ve been working with that is navigating the process of expansion. It created extra stress on the founders and their relationships with each other, which is when they contacted me. The routines and patterns of their relationships weren’t adapting to the evolution of their business. What they had known and come to depend on for doing business had to change. They had to figure out how to negotiate with each other (and on behalf of their business), for where the business is now.
The seemingly simple choice to divide up tasks turned out to be one of the most difficult to work on. The founders have overlapping areas of interest. After founders assigned projects and everyone agreed to who would lead the work, an underlying dynamic showed up. Subtle sabotage in the way the group had been working together became a big problem. One of the founders decided to take away the work from another. Regardless of the reasons, an agreement was broken without discussion.
When something in your “normal” actually gets in the way, even when goals are met, resentment and anger and frustration are present. Those feelings influence how you show up. Awareness decreases. Creativity decreases.
The story of the company is still unfolding. It turns out the action originated from other past behaviors between the founders, which they previously deemed “normal.” Those actions eroded trust. And the fear that the agreements wouldn’t be met caused an action that broke the agreements. This team is actively working to build trust. They are doing so with small agreements that are clearer to everyone so that they can work together, complete tasks, and build trust at the same time. They are learning how to communicate and negotiate with each other in a new stage of business.
The actions we take create a feedback loop.
Even seemingly small or insignificant actions you take, create noticeable outcomes. Are you willing to notice?
We looked closely at the actions taken that built the team dynamic. The person needing control and expecting their partner to fail taught their partner they would fail. The former (i.e., requiring control individual) also taught that completing the task (whatever that might be) was not a necessity because it would get done anyway. Preemptive actions of this nature cut off the ability for something else to happen.
Over time this person started to increase their awareness around what their actions were doing and causing, as well as their impacts on eventual results. Small changes followed. In this case, the adjustments were: commit to the agreement; wait for the deadline (the agreement end); and then discuss the outcome. One of the founders made the change, and that changed how the entire group interacted together. After just a few months, the ensuing change in the result was staggering: more got done with less hard feelings.
More to it, time was found for other vital business development initiatives. What can you figure out about your situation using this example?
- Are you relying on what worked in the past, regardless of if it is right for right now?
- Are you sabotaging work you and others are doing because of something you fear might happen?
Being clear about what you will not compromise on will inform others how to find the best solution. By making this part of how you live, when there is an unexpected crisis, you will fall back to what you’ve decided. Your practice lets you carefully choose actions today that set up a future with more opportunities.
How do you think creatively and negotiate for a win-win?
Strive and push for win-win where everyone feels good about what they are getting, and the results align to what they want. This process takes time, and that may be the time you think you don’t have. But time spent upfront minimizes later adjustments, obstacles, and pivots:
- Be open to being creative in decisions about what to prioritize.
- Recognize that coming with a solution is preparedness and that your preparation will fuel the final decision.
- Take the time to figure it out. Plan in time to discover and really understand. This time is what brings clarity.
- Be willing to consider ALL ideas.
- Together, decide what idea has the most win-win for all stakeholders (present and represented).
- Identify breaks/gaps in “the way” to get to the outcome.
The interactions to build relationships that rely on trust take time and commitment. When you know what you want – and what you don’t want – creates a solid foundation to communicate well. Using the idea that everything is a negotiation and you want everyone to get what they want, these steps illuminate areas where erosion of trust exist or could occur.
It’s easy to accept what’s normal, even when it’s detrimental to you and your company.
If you are interested in additional information, please listen to this Voice of BOLD Business Radio broadcast on the topic, entitled What You Will Not Compromise. Listen here.