5 for 5 blog – Creating a path

3 Apr


This past week one of our global teams shared their leanings and summary of the book “Getting to Yes”.

And at the heart of the message of this great book by Roger Fisher and William Ury is a simple idea: empathy. Empathy to separate people from process. Empathy to focus on interests. Empathy to create a new path the enables discussion, rather than arguing over individual gain.

Empathy should be at the heart of any negotiations, not just to maximize value, but to build relationships and find new solutions with the other party that neither of you could have found on your own.

I have seen this play out even in the last week where two sides were pushing to resolve an issue. After many discussions, one side not only refused to negotiate, they effectively stopped providing feedback. Which begs the question, “Why?” Were they not being heard? Were their needs fully understood? The situation was dripping with uncertainty on both sides. Fortunately, by having perspective and being enough removed from the detailed discussions, through empathy, a path emerged. One side felt like they would be the only ones managing the risk of a launch metric. The other side, felt the same way, but they model that they were using to communicate that was not clicking.

More than the solution lying in the middle, it required understanding. Both sides needed to grasp that each other have vested interest in maximizing the particular launch metric, as soon as possible. A solutions was proposed to show how the risk could not only be shared, but also a catalyst for collaboration. While there are still a few more follow ups required, the sides were finally talking and with a shared knowledge the project could move forward towards achieving that goal.

Empathy is not some nice-to-have-soft-skill, it needs to be understood and developed by every leader. The power to step out of your own shoes and truly understand your counterpart is an opportunity to create more value, shared understanding, and stronger relationships. And if those can be achieved the other metrics will take care of themselves.

Here are this week’s 5 for 5 articles:

Followers Don’t See Their Leaders as Real People – Nathan Washburn and Benjamin Galvin

Think like a bronze medalist, not silver – by Derek Sivers (H/T: Jocelyn Glei)

Ideo Studied Innovation In 100+ Companies–Here’s What It Found – by Katherine Schwab

The One Word That’ll Make Asking for Honest Feedback Less Scary – by Alyse Kalish

Taking Feedback Impersonally – Julie Zhou

all the best, kevin