Understanding Guiding Values

Understanding Guiding Values

Being able to influence others is a critical skill in any business environment. Managers leading a team, colleagues looking for buy-in on a project, and employees angling for a promotion – each of these situations involve one person trying to persuade others to support a recommendation. We may talk big about the “right way” to influence others, but when the time actually arrives even the best of us can make a classic beginner’s mistake. We may stick to expressing our own point of view and major concerns, and give little thought to what the other person is thinking or feeling. The result is unfortunately predictable – instead of moving towards acceptance, we encounter resistance. A key piece of the puzzle is empathy.  Empathy allows us to put ourselves in others’ shoes. Empathy makes it possible to understand decision-making processes and motivations that are very different from our own. It uncovers key information that increases our chances of success. No matter how experienced we are, it always helps to re-evaluate how to apply empathy in a conversation. A simple way to approach it is to think about the Three Guiding Values: the past experiences of the other person, what is imposed on them today, and their relationship with you.   Past Experiences A person’s past experiences will influence their perception of the future. For example, imagine you need to influence colleagues to accept the company’s new change management process. If the last such initiative they worked on was unsuccessful, it is fair to assume they will view your proposal with scepticism. This does not mean you are doomed to failure,...