Mistakes We Make Trying to Get Others to Act or Change

Success requires that we become good at influencing others to act or change. So we get good at teaching, asking, telling, directing, demanding, coaching, offering, trading, and selling.

And we often make three big…and unwitting…mistakes when we try to get others to act or change.

The things we usually forget to do and must get good at are

  1. Setting the stage. Describe the situation–the context–and what you hope to achieve.
  2. Asking permission. Ask if the other person is willing to have this conversation, meeting, etc. If they say they are, agree on a time to have the conversation (even immediately). If they say they are not, then you face a new conversation about what’s preventing them. Have that conversation then come back to this one.
  3. Establishing the grounds for win-win. Ask the other person what qualities and results (not process or solution) they are interested in seeing in this situation. Then describe your desired qualities and results (not process or solution).

Forget these steps and you will encounter defense and resistance. Remember these steps (I suggest you make a habit of it) and others will be much more ready, willing, and able to act or change.


In your corner,



P.S. Once you have used these steps to start a conversation, you can continue by asking, telling, teaching, etc

P.P.S. You can use this approach with your boss, employee, child, parent, friend, partner, peer, etc.

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