Jeff Cooper is the General Manager of Step Change Marketing. This article appears in Jeff's monthly column in Adnews - Australia's leading publication serving the advertising, marketing and media industries.
Can you be too persuasive?
I've spent five years trying to master persuasion and influence. And I've done alright, but 'mastery' has alluded me. I'm certainly better than I was, but at the same time I don't kid myself that I can truly make people do what I want. Yet now I'm questioning if this focus and skill adoption is currently my biggest enemy… Can you be too persuasive?
I think you can. Or more accurately you can be persuasive at the wrong times, particularly when you want to see what the other party would do naturally and learn from them.
You've got to be nodding along by now- this shit makes sense! But here's the thing, being persuasive and seeing if I can influence people (for the right reasons) has become a bit of a game, a challenge, a thrill.
I'm not alone here; half the people reading this and scoffing are now actually asking themselves: "Do I get a kick out of persuading people too?" then thinking: "Good god I'm as sick as this Jeff guy!" Did I get you? I did, didn't I?
Leadership is knowing who you need to be
The great leaders I know tell me that leadership is knowing who you need to be for the person you're leading, the team, and giving that part of you to them. So your default mode can't be right all the time.
It's on my mind because I have a new partner in crime in one of my businesses. She's a killer and the first time I've hired myself a 'real' 2IC. In the past I've been the 2IC, so I'm pumped.
The thing is that I have to be honest and admit that the way the business operates and performs is the result of my experiences, knowledge and actions. The good and the bad.
Believe me, I know where all the bodies are buried! Then it dawned on me that that crazy German bastard (aka Einstein) was right! "We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them". Perhaps I'm the "limited thinking!" Shock horror!
If two people think the same, one of them isn't needed
A key hire in any business is all about taking that business to new places. The adage goes: "If two people think the same then one of them isn't needed".
If that's the case then I could justify the mass genocide of most of the bean counters around town, those pesky backpackers who hassle you for donations on street corners, telemarketers, emos, miscreants, and teenage girls. I digress.
Things are going swimmingly with my new partner in crime. We seem to get on so well, have great chemistry and she's wickedly smart… and no disagreements yet. It's a little eerie.
No doubt we're both looking to make a good impression and set up a good relationship, but could that lead to a suicide pact of agreeableness?
I think it's time to turn the persuasion off, create a safe environment for healthy conflict, and take a few home truths on the chin. Standby ego, defense shields are down.
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