Usable Insight – “Going Forward…” Leveraging the Future
You’ll have much more chance for success in your relationships
if you leverage a future that nobody has messed up
than if you bring up an event that has already happened
and stay stuck in rehashing it to the point where everybody is frustrated
Maybe it’s me, but I see and hear more and more people talking at or over each other and less and less just listening to each other. I’ve also noticed that much of these debates — for I wouldn’t call them discussions or dialogues — center on some event that is happening and one person being in the criticising role and the other being in the defensive or hunkered down role. Something that I’ve learned from my good friend Marshall Goldsmith, executive coach and author of the WSJ #1 best selling book, What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There and use extensively is what I call “Leveraging the Future.” It is quite magical to help all relationships. All it requires is the desire to make a situation better, willingness to focus on a solution instead of staying hopelessly stuck in a problem and most importantly, the willingness to proactively take responsibility for your actions. It usually starts with: “Going forward…” Here are some examples:
To improve your chances for success in your job:
Say to your boss: “Going forward, I would like to increase the chances of my getting a promotion or a raise at my next review. To do that what is something I should always do and something I should never do to make that happen?”
To improve your marriage:
Say to your spouse: “Going forward I want to be a better husband/wife. What is something I should always do and something I should never do that would help me to be that to you?”
To improve your relationship with your children:
Say to your child or children: “Going forward I want to be a better mom/dad. What is something I should always do and something I should never do that would help me to be that to you?”
To improve your relationship with your aging parent:
Say to them: “Going forward I want to be a better son/daughter. What is something I should always do and something I should never do that would help me do that?”
In a webcast that Marshall did a while back, he told the story of asking his aging mom the last question. She responded that she thought he was a great son, but that one thing that always lifted her spirits was when she would receive a card in her mailbox (don’t you remember feeling the same if you received a “care” package at overnight camp?). Marshall promptly started doing that regularly. Some time later when she was dying she told him that one of the things that made her later life happy was going down and receiving those cards. The key of course in making all of these work is the desire to make things better (vs. needing to be right) and invest in your relationships by your being the one to go first.
BTW I am a great fan and appreciative friend of Marshall’s who in addition to his many activities has some great Leading News webcasts available. I was fortunate enough to do one recently that you can hear at Leading News. I was interviewed by one of the “best listeners” I have ever met, Patricia Wheeler. Patricia is a top executive coach in her own right and you can hear her live interview at Leading News about: “Executive Transitions: What Senior Leaders Need to Know and Do” by Larry Levin on November 3, 1 PM EDT/1 AM PDT.
Also just out: Your Brain at Work by David Rock. “This is the best, the most helpful, and the brainiest book I’ve read on how the brain affects how, why and what we do and act. After reading only the first four chapters, I felt roughly 100% more efficient in organizing my work and personal life.” – Warren Bennis, Distinguished Professor of Business and University Professor, University of Southern California and author of “On Becoming a Leader.
And finally be sure to check out: Business Relationships that Last by Ed Wallace. “In Business Relationships That Last, Ed Wallace captures the immediate need for organizations and individuals to build relationships of integrity and confidence. That trust benefits every aspect of service and will help grow your business and generate superior performance.” —Stephen M. R. Covey, author of the New York Times bestseller The Speed of Trust