365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles
Day 60. Tuesday, May 24, 2011
I was getting ready to launch a campaign to help promote one of our new products today. I had an associate look it over and he replied that he didn’t want me to proceed. I would need to come up with a new campaign right away.
In the spirit of living the Dale Carnegie principles, I took a deep breath and said, “no problem. I’ll whip up Plan B.”
I started considering what Plan B would actually be—and my thought process took a turn. I crawled into my associate’s head and considered his point of view.
I then asked my associate some questions about the campaign I had originally proposed. I was gauging to see if he understood the campaign. He did not. In fact, he completely misunderstood what I was doing. I don’t think he actually read anything I sent him. When my suspicions were confirmed I clarified my plan—and he completely changed his mind. He completely loved the idea and wanted me to proceed as originally planned. He apologized for the confusion.
This scenario only lasted a couple minutes. But it had great potential to wreak havoc on the entire day. Aside from almost having to redo all my work… I could have also wasted valuable time chewing on the fact that my associate didn’t take the time to read the campaign. Instead, I took a DEEP breath and focused on the good. The good was: I didn’t have to start my work all over. I also considered the fact that my associate must be very busy and stressed to have missed the key points to the campaign.
The Dale Carnegie principles I used today are from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 17. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
Principle 23. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.
Principle 26. Let the other person save face.
From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Get all the facts.
I demonstrated flexibility to adjust my plans. But I also decided to see things from my associate’s perspective. When I did this—it became obvious to me that he did not understand the campaign. With a few polite questions I was able to clarify the details with him and I avoided having to create an entirely new campaign. I didn’t say he was careless. I focused on the objective of getting work complete.
So remember, if someone says they don’t like your work, your project, etc—gather all the facts. It could be they just don’t understand it and need a few clarifications. Don’t assume what you have created is completely wrong and that you need to start over! If you ask a few polite questions you may discover there’s nothing wrong with your work at all or you may need to make a few minor adjustments. Either way, by gathering all the facts you are in a better position to move forward and achieve your objective.