The Art and Science of Morphing
Back in 1991, when James Cameron’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day was released, the word “morph” wasn’t in the public vernacular. We used words like “change” and “alter”. In the movie, a hospital’s linoleum floor rose up to become a fully-formed “Terminator”, and suddenly we all understood what morphing meant.
In last week’s newsletter, I urged you to say “no” to more requests, to avoid becoming overcommitted. This week, I want to talk about ways to morph a colleague’s not-quite-right request into something that fits perfectly with your talents, passions, and availability. And, something that meets their needs far better than what they originally envisioned.
I often have clients come to me with a fully formed idea of how they think I can solve their problem. But the solution they are suggesting may not be the best way to address the issue they face. Before responding to a request (i.e. would you accept this engagement?), I ask a series of questions to understand their true needs. I may ask:
● “Let’s say it’s three months from now and we’re elated with the success of this project. What results would we have achieved together?”
● “Why did you call me, in particular, to help you with this?” (Why couldn’t you accomplish this with your internal team, or with another partner?)
● What value will this project create, to justify the time and resources that we’ll all have to devote to it?
These questions can be adapted for almost any request made of you by a colleague or friend. In this manner, you can often morph a request that you perceive as a less-than-ideal into something that better fits your capabilities, capacity and interests, and also better meets the requestors’ needs. This approach almost always builds trust. Through clarification and probing, you can give the other party precisely what they need. You may be able to bring them value beyond what they envisioned. And in the process, you make your own life more fulfilling and impactful.
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Amanda Setili helps successful leaders and their teams agree on what needs to change and how to make it happen. She is author of Fearless Growth: The New Rules to Stay Competitive, Foster Innovation, and Dominate Your Markets, and The Agility Advantage, How to Identify and Act On Opportunities in a Fast-Changing World.
Contact Amanda to discuss how she works with companies to improve profits, performance and growth.