Managing Interactions: How to Make Things Worse

Managing interactions is imperative for more than just service businesses.

All companies, including high-tech and product companies, must manage interactions as well. Whether they are direct interpersonal contacts with the customer or the user interface on your computer.

Take Google. You interact with the company through your computer. Google’s interface is simple, easy, fast and multiplies the value (search) to you. While the big engines are behind the scene, focus on the user interface has made the company.

Now let’s take a slightly different angle and consider your interactions with people.

During this time of crisis your people are nervous, how do you interact with them? Denial, false bravado or command presence? Every non-verbal move you make is creating an impression (think McCain Vs. Obama in that last debate). You’re being watched, and your boss, colleagues and employees will either feel a sense of confidence or worry. Just take a look at the stock market after our politicians speak! Millions go up and down.

Leaders sometimes get confused, stressed, uncertain about how to deal with people issues. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Let me see if I can begin to help you here.

And yes, its ok to get help on this. Many of the brilliant leaders I’ve described in my book, The Advantage-Makers, collaborated, had mentors and were helped in managing interactions. It’s a huge leverage, and a small shift can make all the difference.

Remember all those late night conversations because of mishandled or misguided interaction in your relationship at work or closer to home. Wished you hadn’t said something, or had said it better?

In the midst of an economic downturn, worse than making your sticky situations stickier you, you are just the next communication away from missing an opportunity, bungling your influence with your team, putting yourself at a disadvantage that worsens your negotiation power or getting fired.

Stress, pressure or skipping a step has caused many to simply forget what it takes to create wealth, establish credibility and lasting success.Actually no one may have shown you how to manage interactions to consistently produce superior outcomes in the face of constraints. That’s what Advantage-Makers do, it places them in a different league.

On a bad day most business folks look at managing interactions as soft stuff or fluff. Some people make the huge mistake of thinking this is just for beginners. But to the Aces of Influence, the Movers and Shakers, the Resilient and Winners amongst us know it separates them from the mere mortals who struggle to make ends meet.

After learning to strategically interact, one seasoned veteran, who booked millions of dollars of business exclaimed, I can’t believe how much I’ve been bungling these interactions. I didn’t realize it and I don’t have to.

The good news then is that it is something your can – and should – learn.
There is a system for doing that, quickly and with minimal pain, and with personal guidance of an expert.

And I don’t care how ‘interaction challenged’ you’ve been or feel you are, or think your company fails at. This is something you and your company can master. We can fix the hole in your ‘interaction bungling bucket’ right away. We could exchange the word ‘money’ for ‘interaction’, and we would be close to right. That would mean we will be fixing the hole in your ‘money bungling bucket’

Right now, let me begin to give you the foundation…for simply reading along.

There are 3 major ways you make sticky situations stickier.

1) Taking action when your shouldn’t

2) Not taking action when you should

3) Taking the wrong action

Too simple? Start applying it to real stuff that matters. Today identify moments of truth and consider

1) If you are taking action when you shouldn’t?
For example, are you pushing your viewpoint, pressing without being clear about what is really going on?
Are you becoming defensive when challenged?

2) If you are not taking action when you should?
For instance, not making the hard decisions can lead conflicts to fester and morale to deteriorate.
This cost a CEO his job, and I might add, it was appropriate, since his stubbornness was equaled only by his unwillingness to make the hard decisions that stalled all forward movement in the company.

Are you not checking expectations with your supplier?
While reviewing a client’s past million dollar mistakes we found this exact problem, but it wasn’t as obvious as it may sound.  We found the root cause in his thinking that led him to make this error, when he realized his blind-spot he stopped making this mistake. He’s worth a lot more to the company now.

3) If you are taking the wrong action?
And this can be the place you need the most help.
Are you using a hatchet when you should be using a scalpel?
Are you trying to solve a leadership issue thinking it’s a technical problem?
Are you trying to overdo everything when really what you should be its simply doing the high leverage actions.

A COO of a high tech company was describing the supply chain in his business. As we talked he realized that there were too many interactions to manage. And further more, more relationships were not necessarily better. Rather, having a few really good relationships is what created huge leverage in terms of speed, ease and simplicity. Managing these interactions became a multiplier for the business.

Simple interaction tactics and strategies can really turn your upside down business right side up. They position your to be in a better place. If you think these simple interactions errors can’t happen to you or really hurt your business. Please its time to think again.

So, right now, in your business begin to manage interactions and if you do it right, you can increase your influence and the likelihood of people saying yes to your requests.