What is the most important advice you have ever had? For me, a short sentence I heard many years ago would qualify. Peter Drucker, perhaps the wisest management consultant ever, coined the phrase shown in the image to the right almost 50 years ago.
In any situation, only the person receiving the help can say whether it really is. Sometimes, the recipient may feel that it is an attempt to control, or it is undue interference or the act of a needless busybody. Even giving the simplest of advice can create this reaction.
As I saw how this phrase applied in different situations, I was struck by an even more fundamental principle. This again is a six-word sentence shown in the image to the right..
Although we may believe that we instinctively understand how another person feels, that is probably never true. Each of us is different, with different backgrounds and instincts. This explains why two apparently similar people can react in very different ways. And it’s even truer when you are dealing with very different people, for example men dealing with women or vice-versa. It takes special measures to overcome this.
The problem affects the toughest business situation – seeking potential new customers. Keeping this phrase firmly in mind can cause a dramatic change in marketing strategy.
The above was a short SMM newsletter written in the year 2000 and now reproduced here. This concept of ‘you’ being always very different from ‘me’ is very powerful. Forgetting it can lead to all kinds of needless conflict.
The Customer’s Point of View
At the corporate level, it is the fundamental principle that makes a ‘customer-centric’ approach so much more effective than a ‘product-driven’ philosophy as described in a previous post, 7 Habits Of A Truly Customer-Centric Selling Organization
Who Has Control?
Of course it takes courage to give up the possible control you may have of another individual and accept what they would like to do. You have no idea of what that may be. However whatever it is, it will be infinitely better for all parties than what you intended to impose because you felt you had control.
If something happens that surprises you, then be reconciled to that. If it’s better than you feared, you should really be delighted. If it’s worse than you hoped for, don’t worry it’s probably better than you could have achieved by forcing your control on the other person.
This previously appeared as SMM Newsletter 5. You can check out the other original newsletters in the format of the time: