Stop. Collaborate and Listen
Tuesday, April 08, 2014
Posted by: Dr. Alan Zimmerman
Dr. Zimmerman's TUESDAY TIP:
competition between group members is NOT the route to high performance;
fostering collaboration is."
Kouzes and Barry Posner
Authors of "Seven Lessons for Leading the Voyage to the
Dr. Alan Zimmerman's Personal Commentary:
When Muhammad Ali was the world's heavyweight boxing champion, he was flying
across the country to get to his next round of fighting. Just before the
plane took off, the flight attendant checked to see if people had their seat
belts fastened. Every passenger did except for Ali.
"Mr. Ali," she said, "you have to buckle your seat
belt." The brash heavyweight champion said, "Superman doesn't
need a seat belt."
Without missing a beat, the flight attendant countered, "Superman doesn't
need to take a plane, either."
Obviously she was skilled in the art of ENGAGEMENT ... of getting people to do
what she wanted them to do. And that is the 8th of the 12 keys in my "Journey to the
If you want to increase your effectiveness with other people, I suggest the
Realize that it is possible to get more cooperation from people than you're
you've told yourself that nothing will ever get certain people at work or at
home to cooperate. You've been stuck in the belief that
some people are just plain impossible. And you've spent weeks wondering
what , if anything, will get your boss, coworkers, customers, or even your
husband, wife, or kids to cooperate with you.
I used to feel that way and I got sick of it. So I spent weeks, months,
and years poring through the research on persuasion, teamwork, and
cooperation. I wanted to find out what really works when it comes to
working with other people. And I'm so glad to say I found some
answers. And so did Joanne Kaczmarek, a Human Resource Manager at Worldwide
Distributors. She wrote, "I attended your ‘Journey To The
Extraordinary’ program a few weeks ago and had instant success as a result of
your program. My teenage children had friends over and were out playing
in the rain. They had a blast. But with the fun came wet clothing, grass
clippings in the house, and lots of wet towels."
"The next morning, prior to leaving the house, I left them a note, writing
down all the clean-up chores they needed to do. As I read the note, I
noticed that it was negative. I erased the message and wrote, 'I'll be
home about noon. I had a good time with your friends last night. I
hope you enjoyed it also. With the fun comes clean up. Clean up needs to
be done today."
"I came home and the house was vacuumed, the food and beverage items were
put away, the garbage was taken out, and the recycling was done. It was
As Joanne concluded, "If it wasn't for what I learned at your ‘Journey To
The Extraordinary’ program, I would have left my original message. I would have
also returned home with nothing accomplished. Thank you for sharing your
research with others and showing us how to bring out the best in others."
Joanne is right. There are ways you can motivate others to give their full and
willing cooperation. And it doesn't matter if you're an
executive, a manager, a team leader, an employee, or a parent, you've got to
work with other people.
The next public offering of the "Journey" will be in Dallas on May
1-2, 2014, and there are still a handful of seats available at the Early-Bird
Click here to register!
The fact is ... you need to believe it is possible to get more cooperation from
others than you're already getting. And then as an
Emotionally Intelligent person, you need to use the simple three-step XYZ
communication technique to more fully engage someone's cooperation. Let's
walk through it using the example of a husband who's always late.
Use the three-step XYZ communication technique.
X factor: The communication begins with a simple
description of what's going on. The wife might say, "When you are late..."
There's no judging, name-calling or labeling; just a concrete description of
And there's no guessing of hidden intentions or motives, such as "When you
don't even care enough to show up on time." There is no way you can
know for sure if the other person doesn't care and presuming that will only
makes things worse.
Y factor: Once you've described the situation, tell the
other person how you feel ... about the situation or his/her behavior.
Your statement will probably begin with the words, "I feel" and will
aim for clarity and emotional restraint.
In our example, the wife might continue by saying, "I feel
frustrated." Notice, there is no blame, no attack and no comments
such as "You MAKE me feel." Other people can't MAKE you feel
anything, so all you can do is give an honest explanation of your own emotions.
If you like, you could offer a bit more detail about your feelings. The
wife could say, "When you're late, I feel frustrated because it seems to
say to me that my time is not really important to you." Notice
again, the wife is not preaching to or putting down her husband. She is
simply sharing her interpretation of his behavior ... that it SEEMS to
communicate my time isn't important. She is open to feedback but wants
her husband to understand what is happening to her emotionally.
Z factor: The third step in this communication strategy
is to ask for what you need. The wife might say, "Please try to be
on time or call and let me know when you'll be here." Instead of
focusing on past actions he can't change, she's telling him what she'd like him
to do differently next time.
Then put the ball in the other person's court. The wife might ask,
"Would you be willing to do that for me?" There is no demanding
and no ultimatums. There is no taking for granted ... just asking for
consideration and cooperation.
If and when he agrees, they have a "contract." She thanks him
and recognizes his every effort he makes to keep his word.
It's a process that may seem overly simplistic, but it works. And it
works in almost any personal or professional situation. When you need
to engage someone's cooperation, you need to do more than merely
communicate. You need to communicate effectively.
That's what Ralph had to learn. He had been driving down a rural highway
for several hours when he stopped in a small town to buy gas. He spotted
several older men seated just outside the garage of the gas station.
"Hey there," Ralph said, eager for a bit of conversation before he
got back on the road. The men glanced at Ralph and nodded.
"Sure is hot today," Ralph said. The men nodded again.
"On my way to Fairfield. Haven't driven through these parts in quite
some time." The men looked at Ralph.
"You fellas sure are quiet," Ralph said. "Is there some
kind of law against speaking in this town?"
"No laws like that here," one of the men explained. "But
we have an 'understanding' that we don't speak unless we can improve upon the
do you need the most improvement? In the X, Y, or Z factor?
About the author:
© 2014 Dr. Alan R. Zimmerman
As a best-selling author and Hall of Fame professional speaker, Dr. Alan
Zimmerman is focused on "transforming the people side of business."
His keynotes and seminars are noted for high content, high energy, and high
involvement that transform people's lives and the companies where they work. To
learn more about his programs and products, or to receive a free subscription
to his weekly Internet newsletter, go to http://www.DrZimmerman.com.
Reprinted with permission from Dr. Alan Zimmerman's
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