It’s a dilemma you face every day, no matter what you do or where you are in the organization.
You don't want to control your boss, but you want to control the outcome with your boss. You don’t want to control the people around you but you want to control the outcome that comes out of those conversations. If you’re in sales, you can’t command your prospects, but you’d love to command the outcome as FAST as possible.
It’s a dilemma for you because if you PUSH for what you want there’s a danger you’re seen as demanding, controlling, pushy, argumentative, aggressive, annoying, or obnoxious.
You can't be any of those things.
And you can’t give up on what you want. You can’t settle for less. Or let it take a long time.
So, how do you command the outcome in the most DIRECT way possible? Clearly there’s SOMETHING you have to control in order to control the outcome.
It comes down to the WAY you communicate. The way you communicate must penetrate and be irresistible. If it’s not, you get resistance.
When it comes to other people, you’re either irresistible OR resistible.
You’re always going to be MORE ONE than the other.
What determines which you are?
Your command of communication.
Teaching people how to command the outcome without commanding the person is my (and my team’s) specialty. And I use the word command deliberately. I’ve taught thousands of people how to do it supremely well in the past 30 years.
Most people do a lot of talking, but they don’t have a COMMAND of communication to the point where they CONTROL the outcome.
They’re always trying to control the other PERSON without a clue how to STOP trying to control the person and directly control the OUTCOME. (Controlling the other person never has lasting benefit).
They mostly have a lot of questions about why what they’re doing isn’t working.
As I was putting the finishing touches on an upcoming webinar on how to command the outcome without commanding the person I received an email from one of my readers with a topic request that dovetails. This is what she wrote:
“One topic I’d like to read about in your blogs is negotiating and influencing others to achieve success. How do you know when to negotiate and when not to? How do you know what the boundary of your circle of influence is? Is it through trial and error, or is there a less risky way to detect that boundary?
“The type of situation I have in mind is dealing with someone in a position of more power and authority, such as the boss or hiring manager. How do we balance courage to be hard on the problem with softness with the other person to maintain or build the relationship?”
To answer her question: Yes, preserve the relationship. Giving up on a relationship, or seeing it deteriorate, is a pretty miserable experience for everyone involved. Most people don't intend for a conversation or relationship to go south, it doesn’t deteriorate because they WANT it to, they just run out of skills.
Caring about the person and caring about the relationship form a FOUNDATION for everything else you do.
So, now how do you achieve your goal? What you want to do is KEEP COMMUNICATING, but do it EFFECTIVELY.
This leads to my answer for her other question about what is the boundary of your circle of influence ….
You (NOT someone else) DEFINE the boundary of your circle of influence by your COMMUNICATION.
It has nothing to do with your position, age, looks, college degrees or, I'm sorry to say, accomplishments.
I coached a VERY wealthy CEO of a large corporation who was brought to his knees by his teenage daughter because she was the one person in the world he couldn’t communicate with. I coached a brilliant, accomplished engineer who was constantly overlooked for well-deserved promotions because he lacked communication skills. I could go on ...
Your communication DEFINES the boundary of your circle of influence.
When you stop communicating, your circle of influence shrinks and gets very small.
I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve seen people stop themselves. They hit a point and stop communicating.
Right at that point your influence stops.The reason for this is that communication is how you control EVERY situation you're in.
I'm not talking about controlling the other person.
I'm talking about controlling what happens to you, the degree of connectedness you have, the degree of understanding, of respect, of agreement.
How you communicate controls ALL these. All THESE control the outcome.
One of my clients, Sean, was 1 of several hundred employees in a division of a large corporation. He reported to a Manager who reported to a Director who reported to the Vice President. Sean commanded no one.
The Vice President issued a directive that, after being in place for two weeks, was extremely unpopular within the ranks. Despite grumbling, the division Managers told their people they understood their frustration but to try to deal with it best they could.
Sean was so bothered by this directive, he was seriously thinking of quitting a job he loved and looking for another one. It was that bad.
Using what he learned about effective communication, he asked for a meeting with his Manager. It took a lot of COURAGE to approach her on this topic.
As he suspected, the Manager knew people were unhappy, but it wasn't totally REAL to the manager. Do you know what I mean by that?
It happens often where the person has some idea of the situation, but it's not as REAL to them as it is to everyone else.
While making sure the conversation maintained the friendliest of tones, Sean communicated what I call a “creative reality” and turned their conversation into a powerful dialogue that lasted 30 minutes.
The manager was stunned by the realizations of what Sean was telling her. Other people had told her, but not EFFECTIVELY.
Not all talking communicates. As a matter of fact, MUCH of it doesn't.
Within an hour, she had gone to the Director above her and together they went to the Vice President and the VP cancelled the directive. Not only that, the VP was immeasurably GRATEFUL to Sean.
The same day this happened Sean sent me an email saying, “The entire team of hundreds has benefited! This outcome would never have happened if I didn’t go in and communicate.”
Then in 2 weeks Sean sent me another email saying something most people never get to say:
“I almost can't believe this! My BOSS’S BOSS is now coming to me for my opinions.” It was a BETTER THAN HOPED FOR outcome.
That’s what you should always have.
That's the power of having a command of communication. Most people have been systematically trained NOT to command.
They’re commanded, not commanding.
They’re therefore more likely to give up and compromise.
Many people are afraid to command, or mistakenly think that to be commanding means you have to be harsh or militaristic. Yet your ability to command THROUGH SUPERIOR COMMUNICATION is what determines your leadership and destiny.
Make your circle of influence as BIG as you can by COMMUNICATING! Make your communication effective. Make it a dialogue, not a dispute.
Stay TRUE to your goals.