When we are in school we are taught to follow a rule book and solve problems in a given manner. If you don’t solve it that way the teacher may actually deduct marks. There are benefits of this system, because it helps the teacher grade her students on a fixed set of parameters. It’s not good for the students because when they do go out in the real world they find moving targets with no method to directly use.
Since we get so used to being spoon fed through the school system, we are not able to think different possibilities.
One method which I use is to let people experience the challenge of the straight jacketed way of solving a problem. If I try telling people the challenges in their solution then they resist my ideas. So I tell them how I would go about it and then I ask them.
I ask them of how they think they would like to solve the problem. Once they tell me the solution and if I don’t think it might be a workable solution, I ask them to proceed with solving the problem their way. But I put a low risk milestone. Only if the low risk milestone can be realized, are they allowed to move ahead otherwise they have to find another way.
This way they don’t feel that I don’t listen to their ideas and I am also ‘not betting the whole farm’. In addition if their solution works then, I have learnt a new way to solve the problem. On the other hand if it doesn’t work, I can then tell them the reason why doing it my way has its benefits and they get to learn from me.
As we grow older, we get more and more fixated with our ideas and resist ideas from others. So if you try to push something , it doesn’t work . On the other hand you let them try their idea with a low risk outcome and then show the problems , they may be more willing to listen to your ideas.
Professional negotiators have a complete arsenal of these kind of techniques to get people to come to a win – win solution. Sales is another specialized negotiation. In yesterday’s post I had written about how you could use the same concepts.
Till next time then.