Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wants and Must Haves in Business—What’s the Difference?

“Humans have the remarkable ability to get exactly what they must have. But there is a difference between a ‘must’ and a ‘want.’ ” By Jim Rohn
In my earlier professional life I was a mediator and conflict management specialist, and helped individuals in conflict understand the difference between a want and a must have. When people are in conflict, they often present their position as a want (“I want___ or I don’t want___”). A want is often one person’s solution to a problem. A must have can be understood as an underlying interest and typically addresses some sort of fear, priority, value. People tend to argue their positions (wants) however, when we converse from the perspective of our understanding one another’s underlying interests, we discover more about the other individual. It also fosters increased understanding about the reasons why each person’s need is so important. In best case scenarios, shared interests or needs are identified. When shared interests or needs are identified, creative options for solutions seem to surface.
Three steps to take to clearly communicate your needs (must haves) and interests:
• Speak about what you Need, not what you Don’t Need or Don’t Want. We often frame our priorities in the negative- what we don’t want. But, the problem with this approach is that it leaves the other person guessing why you do want or need. Or worse, the other person assumes what you need or want, and when we make assumptions we are most often wrong. Speaking clearly and in the affirmative removes doubt and incorrect assumptions.
• Provide an example or explanation so the other individual understands your rationale. Examples are helpful in ensuring the other individual understands your perspective, and
• Ask questions to the other individual so that you can understand his/her underlying interests, Open ended questions (they begin with “who”, “what”, “where”, “when” and “why”) open the door for healthy discussion and learning more about each person’s perspective.

When you are clear on your interests, your must have’s it makes it easier for others to understand how they can be of service to you.

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