So often leaders and others struggle to know how to construct a convincing argument. Let’s look at how you can make that construction process a whole lot easier…
Let’s say you and I are working together on Project A—and I want us to put Project A on hold and work on Project B. I’m about to approach you and have that conversation.
An Approach You Will Have Noticed
One option I have is to launch in and say…
“I think we should drop Project A and work on Project B. Project B’s going to give us a lot more bang-for-the-buck in this financial year.”
From there, I’ll just respond to any counter arguments that you throw back at me.
An Alternative Approach
An alternative is to plan how I’ll approach the conversation by jumping into your shoes.
I’m going to do that by asking myself about your likely wants, needs, fears and concerns about switching from Project A to Project B:
- What might you want regarding this?
To have certainty that Project A will be successfully implemented.
To have a glowing performance review.
- What needs might you have around this?
To not be any more overloaded with work than you already are.
To know that your team members won’t be disadvantaged because of the change.
- What fears might you have about this?
That Project A won’t be implemented on time.
That your team members won’t respond well to the change of focus.
- What further concerns might you have?
That our sponsors won’t support the switch in emphasis from Project A to Project B.
That I might bulldoze you into agreeing with me about the switch.
If I have no clue about how to answer those questions, I’m going to need to talk with you first to learn more about your perspective, particularly about your wants, needs, fears and concerns.
The Application Of This Approach
“I’ve been giving some thought to how we’ll achieve this year’s business objectives— and I’d like us to talk through the advantages of putting Project A on hold whilst we complete Project B.
We both know how important it is that Project A is implemented successfully and on time. And if you and I decide on a change on focus, we need to make sure our sponsors as well as our teams are on board.
Are you able to talk this through now, or would you prefer that we made a time to discuss it later in the day?”
Your Leadership Call To Action
When you’re next about to have a discussion in which you want to put forward a convincing argument, will you ask yourself about the other person’s wants, needs, fears and concerns?
Further, if you’re not comfortable about your hypothesis about their wants, needs, fears and concerns, will you begin your conversation with the intent of learning about them?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Carolyn Stevens has worked with leaders for more than 25-years—hundreds of them.
She’s supported leader after leader (including those who previously struggled to confront the difficult, let alone persuasively deal with the it) flourish—and become confident, courageous and impressively influential.
Carolyn is authentic and results-oriented. She draws on an eclectic array of approaches, tools and techniques to suit the situation.