Jacky Leonard's blog

Archive entries for: Apr-2013

I win, you lose!

Categories:  Effective Communication, Being on purpose, Life Balance and Wellbeing

“Fairness is not an attitude.  It is a professional skill that must be developed and exercised.” ~ Brit Hume


I’d like to think many of you have a fairness value; mine runs through my DNA.  Its real importance to you, as with many of your other values, will often only become apparent when you feel it’s being trampled on. 

The best negotiations are when both parties feel they have won.  You can walk away satisfied that you’ve been heard, treated with respect and benefitted from the exchange.  Win-Win!  I’ve witnessed, on more than one occasion, cases where one party has walked away rubbing their hands in glee, while the other sits looking a little confused and eventually feeling they’ve been shafted.  Win-Lose! 

If you’re the winner in this scenario, you’re sense of satisfaction is usually short lived as, even if your ‘opponent’ didn’t fully realise the significance of the interaction at the time, they soon will and they’re unlikely to trust, or do business with you again.

Consider this personal scenario…you want to go to the cinema with your partner, but they want to have a quiet evening in with you.  What will often happen is one or other of you will ‘compromise’ i.e. do what the other one wants.  That’s OK until you start to feel you’re always the one doing the compromising.  What happens then is you begin to resent your partner.  After all it’s not fair!  Why should they always get their own way at your expense?  Win-Lose!  Sometimes, even if you’re the one who won the exchange you may feel guilty, so you both feel put out. Lose-Lose!  So what’s the answer?  Stephen Covey called it synergy.  It’s an opportunity for values to be shared and outcomes to be aligned to achieve a win-win. 

Let’s look at that scenario again.  This time let’s consider what both parties might have wanted.  If, for example, what’s important is that you both spend quality time with each other, what you actually do becomes less of an issue.  You are now much more open to find an alternative activity that suits you both e.g. a drink at your local followed by a good movie on TV. 

Next time you find yourself in negotiation, try to establish what’s important to you and the other party first.  You may find it far easier to reach a mutually satisfactory outcome.

Are you response able?

Categories:  Business Coaching, Training & Coaching, Sport and Leisure

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”  ~ Victor Frankl1

How many times have you heard that whining phrase “…it’s not my fault.” or “they made me do it…” or at least a statement expressing a similar sentiment?  Think about what it actually means.  In essence the individual expressing it has surrendered all control.  They no longer have possession of their faculties, or the ability to choose how to respond or react to the stimulus, event or person in question.  What a disempowering place to be!

Yet, you’ll hear this sort of language expressed on a daily basis.  It allows the person saying it to relinquish responsibility for their actions; to pass the buck onto someone else, to shirk accountability.  They’ve become Pavlov’s dog!  Stimulus-response; with no space in between for choice, or thought about responsible action.

Whilst at the European Junior Badminton Championships recently I got into a discussion with one of the players.  They had just come off court after a close match and I overheard one of them say “The umpire’s decision cost us 4 points.”  My immediate response was “Who cost you those 4 points?”  I had to ask it twice and reframe it to “What was the reason you didn’t win those next points?” before it had the desired impact and they admitted the most likely reason was they’d allowed themselves to become distracted by a dubious line call. 

One of the reasons for the loss of focus was they headed straight into stimulus-response.  The umpire’s decision was ‘wrong’ and ‘unfair’, therefore they should have won the point.  When they didn’t, it was only a small step to blaming their loss of the next few points on the umpire too.  Not logical I know, however at the time, in the heat of the moment it made perfect sense.  The real concern here is if you insist on blaming someone else for your lot, you stand little chance of doing anything positive to influence what’s happening in your life. 

If you’re in a leadership role it’s even more important to be response able.  The best leaders not only take responsibility for their actions; they’re also accountable for the behaviour and performance of their team.  They applaud their team’s successes in public and coach out their developmental issues in private.

“Between stimulus and response there is a space.”  Sometimes that “space” may diminish because of hectic lifestyles, leadership styles and personality traits, however it’s still there.  You have the power of choice…if you want to experience continual growth and personal freedom, choose wisely.

1Victor Frankl, an Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor.  Author of ‘Man’s search for meaning,’ an incredibly powerful, moving and inspiring book about his personal experiences and observations of life in a Nazi concentration camp.