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Make People Glad to Do What You Want

Make People Glad to Do What You Want

Like many people, I tend to be fairly cooperative. When I can, I generally do not mind helping others out.

When I first started my current job, I took that to a bit of an extreme. I volunteered for committees, helped out other teams within my division, and accepted a heavy travel burden. Once the novelty of these experiences started to wear off, I found myself longing for the things I enjoy most: opportunities to think, be creative, and interact with fellow investment professionals. If the request takes away from my ability to do what I enjoy, I increasingly find myself saying "No, thanks."

This does not always mean that I do not help. Whenever possible, I follow the advice of Dale Carnegie and not only thank the requester for thinking of me and express regret, but also suggest another person who could be of help. What they really need is someone to help them, and if I can do that indirectly rather than directly they still get what they need.

How about when I need some help from others? Does my decision to decline their requests violate the principle of reciprocity and leave me open to rejection? Again, Carnegie provides helpful suggestions to make others glad to help you out.

What do you want, and what are the benefits of doing it?

Do you need them to manage a project from start to finish, or is it a shorter-term request? What specific talents do they have that are critical to your task at hand?

The benefits of a task can take many forms. Does it provide the opportunity to interact with influential higher-ups? Practice at a skill that will help the person earn a promotion? The chance to try something new?

What does the other person want, and how do the benefits match up?

You know what you want, but what do they want? If you really want to motivate someone, you need to focus on the things that interest them, not how it will benefit you. They are much more likely to help if they see a clear benefit for themselves.

It is no use telling a person that it puts them in front of more people if they prefer time alone. On the other hand, the discomfort of the experience could end up being worthwhile if it can be shown to meet the person's longer-term objectives.  

Be sincere

Don't overpromise. If the project won't result in a promotion, don't imply that it will. Only discuss the benefits that you are confident will accrue, and be honest about the negative aspects.

This strategy is likely to work even better if you have already laid the groundwork by following other Dale Carnegie principles, such as Be a Good Listener and Become Genuinely Interested in Other People.  If you have taken the time to learn in advance what truly motivates people you are likely to find it much easier to tie their objectives with your own.

Photo by Carmela Nava

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