Over the past couple of days I've introduced some ideas from a new project I'm calling "Prepare To Succeed."
"Prepare To Succeed" is a model designed to help you get ready for the important conversations you're going to have this week.
Here's Part One.
Here's Part Two.
Before you start preparing, however, it would be good to know what you want the results to be.
What, exactly, is a "successful interaction?"
For me, a successful interaction is one that fulfills both the intellectual and emotional expectations of the participants.
Intellectual expectations are the things we want to get done as a result of having the conversation. Think: getting finance to agree to your department's budget; or, convincing your husband to watch Oprah.
Emotional expectations are how we want to feel (and have the other partcipant(s) feel) both when the conversation is taking place and when it's over. Think: having finance feel comfortable about your budget presentation; having your husband not feel resentful about not watching what he originally wanted to watch.
In everyday language, we say that we are “happy” with how these interactions went; that they were “good” ones.
Taking this a step further, what if you established outcome objectives for all the key interactions you will have this week? Not every conversation. Only those you'd judge as "Important" or "Critical" on the Interaction Importance scale.
And, what if you decided that you'd know how successful the conversation really was by having both you and the other interaction participant(s) rate the interaction on a scale from 1 to 5 stars?
Something like this:
Let's take a look at what those ratings might mean:
- Lousy - The interaction was a failure. Both you and the other participant(s) would agree that the conversation did not accomplish either the intellectual or emotional objectives you wanted it to accomplish. Maybe #EpicFail would be better!
- Disappointing - Not what you'd hoped for. The conversation did not produce the kinds of intellectual and/or emotional results you were trying to achieve. It had its moments but, overall, it was not successful.
- OK - Many of our important interactions fall in this category. The conversation got the job done. You got your point across and everybody signed off. Check marks all around. Fine, but nothing special.
- Happy - Both you and the other people involved are jazzed about the conversation. Not only were your ideas embraced, but the interaction's emotional tone was excellent. This is when everyone walks away saying, "that was a really good meeting," or, "I'm glad we had this conversation."
- Awesome - Rare as hen's teeth. These are interactions that electrify everyone involved. You've not just influenced or convinced the other participant(s), you've created committed allies. Everyone agrees: something special happened.
If you approached your calendar this way, you'd now have a model that would help you determine which interactions were most important to your personal and/or professional goals and how you'd like both you and the others to answer the question: "How'd it go?" when it was over.
So, you might say to yourself: "I've got a Level 5 (Critical) meeting with my boss on Friday. I'll be fine with a 3 Star (OK) outcome but I'm shooting for a 4 (Happy)."
But, how are you going to make that happen?
How do you prepare for important interactions?
I'll take up that question in upcoming posts about "Prepare To Succeed."