Often taking wider and more inclusive perspectives leads to unconventional approaches in business and leadership. Take the topic of how to gain respect by higher level managers or board members. The usual advice would be to impress them by meeting and exceeding their expectations. But Rob McNamara, creator of Commanding Influence: Your Development for Greater Mastery at Work, argues that disappointment can achieve superior results and furthering your career.
While he acknowledges that the advice given isn’t for everyone, but people who already have strong management skills he says that there are five steps which can help them to get the most out of their disappointments. The steps are: (1) Get good intel; (2) Assemble your strategy; (3) Proactively communicate; (4) Heighten the disappointment and hold your ground; and (5) Execute.
Regarding the third step, McNamara says:
The human mind is motivated by pain. While we all like to think we’re more motivated to deliver great value, to improve our organizations, and to bring better services to our world, the truth is that at the end of the day we usually don’t leap fully into tremendous opportunities. We do, however, get into action when we’re suffering. When we’re in pain, we take action. Use this core conditioning to work for you.
The people you report to need to feel the texture of the suffering that will result from the limitations you’ve identified in the new project. One formula that often works goes something like this, “I don’t like to disappoint you, but given my expertise and how I see this initiative, I’m not able to execute as we discussed earlier. This is because these limitations are going to lead to…”
Hold your ground on what you will and won’t execute on. It’s not uncommon for management or leadership to merely reinforce the existing scope, frames and deliverables. IF you’ve done good intel, you’ll already have thought through these objections to your strategy. Remember, you’re the expert as it pertains to your job. Don’t give this up easily. Doing so tells people you’re not ready for larger organizational responsibilities…
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This is the heart of what is meant by taking a higher level of consciousness in all your affairs. In business, it partly means thinking “outside the box”, but also taking an unbiased, balanced perspective on your situation.