Habit 4 – Understand the people and their interests
Business is a social activity. Organisations are made up of people, decisions are made by people, and our clients are people. Relationships are key, whether they are organisation to organisation, between teams, or individuals.
Being able to understand the people, their styles, and drivers is fundamental to being able to successfully navigate the complex world of business and deliver success in terms of the desired outcomes and also in terms of the efficiency and effectiveness of how we get to success.
Business is mainly about managing people and politics.
Successful professionals understand this and manage the people politics (without becoming political or underhand themselves). They understand personal interests and seek to take heightened emotion out of any project.
1. First figure out who all the people involved in a project are, including your own team, the client’s team, other advisers and the “other side”.
2. Secondly, try to understand each person’s interests and whether they want the project to succeed or fail.
3. For potentially stressful projects e.g. M&A, disputes etc. map out how the process will work and how people will feel. Walking through what will prepare people and make it less traumatic.
4. Avoid the temptation to play tough and confrontational with the other side.
5. Keep your own ego out of the deal.
6. Remember that your principle loyalty throughout the deal is to the client not your firm. You should therefore be willing to collaborate with other advisers (who may be from competing firms).