My clients want to learn how to do 1 thing really well: make what they want HAPPEN.
Some want to get through to a boss “who doesn’t get it”. Some want to land a job that takes them to the next level of their career. Some have aggressive sales goals. Some want to influence peers who don’t listen. Some want to build more effective teams. Some want to inspire.
An example is Allen, a rising star who works in a very large organization. His new assignment required him to change the way his part of the organization was operating. Allen had great ideas, even a clear vision of what should happen.
He summarized why he wanted my help in our first conversation. He said,
“The HARDEST thing to do is change mind sets. I’m in a fight every day because I’m doing something the organization’s never done before. They’re not sold. Every time I turn the corner I get resistance. I’m far from winning the hearts and minds of the people I’m talking to.”
Allen’s boss described Allen to me as a “High potential individual who knows he’s right, but can’t get anyone to listen.”
When I met Allen he was, predictably, frustrated, feeling defeated by his own organization. He felt they were facing one of the greatest opportunities in the organization’s history but wasting time arguing senseless points. The only input from senior leadership was, “Work it out.”
I love working with people like Allen. People who are high potential, who have great ideas, who are right in their visions … but they come to find out … being right is no guarantee of success.
They have a lot of people to convince. They would give anything to get their ideas adopted, get on with it and make change happen a lot faster.
Each situation seems unique, yet what each person is searching for is similar. They want to know how to control the outcome without controlling the person.
You don't want to control your boss, yet you want to control the outcome with your boss. You don’t want to control the people in your life, yet you want to control the outcomes you have in those conversations.
There's only 1 way to do that and that is to communicate so extremely WELL, to create such PROFOUND understanding, that the other person WANTS the same outcome you do. So much so that they AGREE, COMMIT, and ACT on it.
AGREEMENT is key to commanding the outcome. The degree of agreement you get DETERMINES the outcome. If you have 2% agreement, you’ll get 2% of the outcome you want.
It takes 100% agreement to get real COMMITMENT. And then it takes 100% commitment to get ACTION.
Without agreement, it goes nowhere.
Now here's the kicker. You can't MAKE people agree with you. I know we’ve all tried a thousand times. But, like me, you probably found out the hard way that it can’t be done.
Whether or not they agree with you is ENTIRELY up to them. It's a decision THEY make. You can't control it and you shouldn't even try. You'll just frustrate yourself and them.
It's also a sign of respect to let the other person make up their own mind about it. None of us likes the salesman who hovers over us while we’re trying to decide, or the one pushing us to buy.
Even if you're in a position of command, you can't force them to agree.
You can order them to do something, but if they don't agree, it won't be done well. And if you try to force it, your relationship will deteriorate. And they’ll stop doing it the second you stop looking.
I can’t tell you the number of senior executives I’ve coached because commanding people just wasn’t working for them. Being at the top of the organization is no guarantee others are following you.
So getting agreement is critical. That’s where communication comes into play.
In those situations where you’re not getting the agreements you need, you may be talking, but you’re not COMMUNICATING, you're either not getting through or you’re debating.
Debating usually just leads to more debating.
What is the BIGGEST influence on whether or not the other person agrees with you?
HOW you communicate.
The key is to communicate so well, that you remove ALL barriers to agreement and the other person comes to your point of view ON THEIR OWN.
This takes SKILL. Skill is defined as “a great ability to do something well or with excellence”.
When you do it well, it reduces the amount of time it takes for agreement to happen. If you use solid communication skills you can achieve agreement in 1 conversation not 10.
So it really comes down to your command of the communication process. When you command THAT, you command agreement, not by forcing the other person, but by communicating SO WELL they can't help but agree with you.
Allen mastered the communication skills he needed to rise to the challenge facing him. I tracked Allen’s journey through follow-up calls. The positive results he created were immediate and then snowballed. On each phone call he was at a new high of exhilaration.
On one he said,
“It’s amazing how everyone’s responding to me now. I’ve never gotten such a positive response. I’m presenting the same ideas, but the conversation is going COMPLETELY differently. They are all agreeing with me. And when people are talking with me, I can SEE it in their eyes - they find extraordinary communication amazing. It IS amazing!”
Agreement is only created by outstanding communication. This kind of communication feels like a real DIALOGUE. A dialogue is defined as “an interchange and discussion of ideas, especially when open and honest, seeking mutual understanding or harmony, done with the spirit of goodwill.”
When you create rich dialogues, agreements can’t help but happen.