I have a theory. I believe that many of us are only 1 request away from getting what we want. By getting “what we want,” I don’t mean little things, like taking the night off or getting someone else to do the dishes.
I mean a great, big thing, like:
• A far more profitable business.
• Better partnership with others and with your team. No nonsense.
• Big changes to your business that were within arm’s reach all along.
For years I have been a corporate trainer, facilitator and executive coach. I’m the one who comes in to work with teams and whip them into shape. Clients like AMEX and Ogilvy have been coming to me for years. They love it, and I love it. It’s a match made in heaven.
I soon realized the secret to high performance and high profits isn’t in developing new modules or getting people to feel “more motivated.” It is in showing them how to talk to each other. And no other form of talking is more powerful than the right kind of request.
I know asking for what you want can feel complicated! What if they say no? What if they say yes, but then never take action? What if they think you’re bossy or pushy? That’s what keeps us from asking for what we want. (There’s a method I teach that overcomes this.)
No one wants to be greedy or pushy, so we learn to ignore our desires for more. When we do that, we shut down more recognition, more impact, more love. This is a total misunderstanding of our inner voice & its intentions. The twinge of desire you feel is not selfishness. It’s your mind telling you, Woman! You have so much more to give! Let’s get to it already!
What I know: thinking big isn’t really just about you! When you think big, you do it for everyone involved.
Think (big) enough of them to ask for what you want.
You both are meant to make a bigger contribution.
The CEOs I interviewed know that contributing more means being willing to negotiate for what you need. When you are getting what you need, you’ll be able to give everything you’ve got. Listen to how these CEOs get it done:
“Why ask? People say yes, but what I get wasn’t what I wanted. It’s hard to trust again. Yet, I’m open to ideas…”
“HOW you communicate to anyone is important. Don’t tell them what to do, or how to do it. Tell them the final result you hope to accomplish, the guidelines they may need to work within (budget constraints, legal, etc.) and then let them chart the path. Don’t micro-manage, don’t second guess. If you feel they are off-base, then talk about it. Use words such as “you might want to”, or “you could”. Replace the word “should” with “might” or “could” and it comes across as a suggestion instead of a command. Also give feedback in a positive way. Example: They tell you their plan and you see some pitfalls, consider saying, “Good work, but how would it look if we . . . .”
~Debbie Simpson, CEO Multi-Craft
“I get so nervous, how do I ask without giving myself away?”
“I script out what I am going to say. I say it aloud and then think about what they must be hearing. I put myself in their shoes and think about what is in it for them. What would make them say yes? Another great strategy is to get them from thinking with their head to feeling in their heart — that works best when you want them to make, not a logical decision, but an emotional one.”
~ Michelle Crumm, CEO Ultra Electronics
“How do I turn my request into results? So many people say yes and then don’t follow through.”
“You have to find the ‘win’ for the person you are asking. The ’win’ can be as simple as they get to keep their job. But more often, you have to paint a picture for them to see how complying with your request is to their benefit. Example: More cold calls = more qualified prospects = more sales = more money for you. I think people often believe you’re just asking to ask. They don’t know the final outcome you are trying to achieve, but they only see the short term problem of your asking them to do something more. It’s worth taking the time to explain your vision and how your request fits into that vision.”
~Debbie Simpson, CEO Multi-Craft
“Authenticity, integrity, looking people in the eyes and telling them just like it is. I never sugar-coat anything. These are my foundation principles. What they see is what they get.”
~Jennifer Schoenhofer, CEO Axis Teknologies
“Honestly, I’m afraid to ask for what I want. What if they say no?”
“Part of this is being able to take no for an answer. I usually have a back-up plan in case the answer is no. It seems to me that when you have a plan for different results, it is easier to ask because you don’t have to fear the answer. You are prepared no matter what the answer is. Also, discussing something with someone, genuinely listening to their response, engaging in give and take rather than forcing the issue usually brings about more opportunity for getting what you want. People tend to be more agreeable when they feel they are being heard.”
~Carolyn DeNapoli, CEO Direct Sign Systems
Why not spend the next couple of days practicing at thinking big for yourself and others? What happens when you know people “as giants,” capable of extraordinary feats and willing to grant your request? What happens if you give them a chance to deliver and expect the best?
Let me know in the comments below.
I want to meet people who want to learn how to make powerful requests–whether they’re entrepreneurs or the leaders of firms or companies. I want to turn them into forces of nature who can get anyone to just naturally want to do their bidding. If you or up to 3 of your trusted friends/colleagues can email me your response to the following question, I will offer you a 30-minute personal, one-on-one, private session to help you turn that request into reality.
Here’s what I need to know:
What is the ONE thing you would ask for if you knew you had nothing to lose?
If you’d like to take me up on this–or have a trusted friend or colleague who might, won’t you pass this article along? I’ll grant requests as long as they are submitted to me by June 30, 2012.