You asked. You sent your request. You emailed, you called, you stopped by the cubicle. You said please. Should you whine, kick, and scream? Should you remind people of your self-worth and importance by using your title, tone of voice, or some other power play? Maybe you will threaten or refuse to respond to their email? Eye for eye, right? We all need to get things done. We need people to respond to our emails, come to meetings, pay invoices, and return calls. To say yes to your next step. To go on that date. To clean the room up. Every single day we must find away to get others to act on our behalf. However, they don’t always do it.
Many times, although not every time, it is because you deserve the response you got. You have not earned the right with that person—you simply want something done. There is so much going on, so many priorities, and much to compete with your need. How do you get anyone’s attention? This is the difference between average and good, between a bonus or nothing, and between being offered a promotion or being shown the door. Success is about the things we can’t see, it is about our interpersonal and relational skills.
Here are the top 8 ways to earn the right with your stakeholders (or just about anyone):
- Treat people like you would like to be treated. Of course this is common sense, but do you reply to emails in the same time frame you expect from others? How about returning phone calls?
- Respond no matter what the circumstances. Even if you do not have an immediate answer for someone, get back to them quickly and acknowledge their request. My wife often asks, “Did you hear me? I know your thinking but please acknowledge me.” I see staff get a request and scramble to find the answer or response and then get back to the inquirer much later than was comfortable. If they had just reached out to acknowledge that the other person was heard.
- Establish a cultural internal service level for yourself. How quickly will you get back to someone? Give yourself deadlines to improve the quality and speed of your responsiveness.
- Realize that in order to get something done it is easier to know the players. Invest time in key relationships with customers and associates at work. Do it proactively, with a plan, and in advance. Why? Proactivity always pays off. By the time you get to this investment you will need it.
- Read the book Business Relationships That Last. Ed Wallace is someone I consider a good friend. He wrote a terrific book on how every relationship can be viewed by a relational ladder—the process to relationship building.
- Know how much relational equity your organization has in the moment. How long has your company worked with this supplier? How long has your associate worked on this project? Your boss knows the team. What was the last meaningful attempt reset and invest in the people? Did your team deliver last time around? Score the situation and know your relational scorecard.
- Build your reputation and be the giver. Be the one that does the extras for the team. Volunteer to assist team members and spend that spare time helping. Grab the extra project or workload. Invest in others.
- Don’t be the taker. I met some very successful soccer players when I coached. I have had sales people that sold more than their quota. And we all know those really smart, intelligent, and talented associates that never give and only take. They are always late, always delegating, and often behind. They are a hot mess and can’t seem to do a damn thing on their own and it shows. Do not be this person.
If you can’t get things done it is your fault. If you don’t hear back from others in a reasonable time, that is on you. You might need training. Perhaps you’re low on the relational ladder and you need to figure out how to climb a rung or two. My point is simple really: To get what you want you need to walk, talk, and chew gum like the other person. Lastly, you need to give and create value in an authentic way.
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