Having the right conversation is more important than getting the outcome you want.
Your first thought might be that this is a load of rubbish, surely nothing is more important than getting the outcome you want. If you get what you want from a situation, then it doesn’t really matter whether you have the right conversation or even how you get there, as long as you get there. Unfortunately too many people think this way and in the end, it means that they have to work harder and longer to achieve the success they want.
So what do I mean, well let’s look at the options:
The wrong conversation but not getting what you want
The first combination is clearly not working for anyone. If you’re not getting what you want and you’re not having good conversations with people, then you are wasting everybody’s time. Every time you find yourself in this situation, not only are you going to be frustrated, you’ll also risk damaging your reputation and the options you have to grow your business in the long run. You’ll waste time, effort and money having the same conversation over and over again with people without ever really growing your business. The most that you can hope for from a conversation like this is to learn not to have it again.
The wrong conversation but getting what you want
Now you might think this is better, it’s a shame the conversation didn’t go well but you got what to you wanted so that’s all that matters, right? The problem is that this is a short-term result, you might make the sale or get your employee to do what you want but it won’t lead to customer or employee loyalty in the long run. If you use tricks or worse deception to get the outcome that you want, it will always backfire on you in the end. Even if you are totally honest and upfront, you’ll still only get the short term result and not the long term relationship. The big risk with this type of conversation is that you never learn to have any other kind of conversation and you will keep going until you run out of people to talk to. You can make money this way but you will never reach your full potential.
Having the Right Conversation
I’ll deal with the last two options as one because if you actually have the right conversation your idea of what the outcome should be at the beginning might be very different at the end. I believe that it’s only by having the right conversation in the first place that you can truly know what it is that you might want at the end.
Take for example a sales conversation with a potential customer, they might seem like a great match but when you have the right conversation you realise that it will end up being a disaster. Maybe they have unreasonable expectations, they haggle over every detail of your price and service, they’re likely to keep coming back with corrections and changes. Eventually, you end up with a customer who is much more trouble than they are worth. If you hadn’t had the right conversation, if you had just rushed to get the outcome you wanted, the quick sale might have ended up causing problems in your business.
Another alternative is that you ask an employee to do something, to change a process or respond to a piece of work. If you have the right conversation with them they may come up a better alternative, they might have an idea that you haven’t thought of. They might not do what you want but they will do something better, something that gets you better results in the end. If you don’t take the time to have the right conversation you may get what you want, it just won’t be as good as you could’ve had. Worse than that you don’t build employee engagement and loyalty.
Sometimes getting what you want means that you get stuck in a situation that you regret later or worse you miss out on an opportunity that is better than you could have imagined in the beginning. Sometimes getting what you want can be overrated. Having the right conversation might not always get you what you want but it will give you the right outcome, the outcome that can help you achieve the right kind of growth in your business, but that’s a different conversation.