How To Get Me (And Others) To Do What You Want

I desperately want ice cream right now—but you don’t care, do you? You’re thinking about your own hopes and dreams. That’s okay. As Dale Carnegie points out in the third chapter of How To Win Friends & Influence People, “The rest of us are just like you: we are interested in what we want.”

So, if we’re all independently focused on our own wants, how do we even function as a society? How do we work together to meet our collective goals? Turns out the secret to influencing people is to think and talk to them in terms of what they want. You need to find the thing that is going to make them excited to do what you want them to do. As it relates to me right now, that “thing” is creamy, sugary, and frozen inside a 32-ounce tub.

Everyone has their “ice cream”. It can take the form of a personal, professional, financial or spiritual goal depending on the individual. As a manager, it is my job to know the underlying motivation(s) for each person on my team, just like I need to know their strengths and weaknesses. It allows me to set them and our team up for success by aligning their goals with those of our department. Furthermore, it is a tool I can use to motivate them when they have to do tasks they may not want to do.

It’s not always easy to know what people want. It takes a lot of communication with and observation of a person to fully understand what drives them across various situations. And, in some cases, people will strategically mask their motivations so they cannot be used against them. (As we previously discussed, these principles can—for better or for worse—be used manipulatively.) But, whether you can discern it or not, everyone wants something. Knowing and, more importantly, remembering what that is improves your ability to successfuly work with people.

Every decision a person makes, every word a person says reveals a little bit about what they value. With the right amount of effort and by taking the time to listen, you will start to pick up on these subtle clues, building overtime a robust database to help you frame scenarios on their terms. For example, if you were paying attention, this post gave you serious intel about my love of ice cream. Therein lies the secret to getting me (and others) to do what you want.

And now, for your quote of the day:

“If you are working on something that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.” —Steve Jobs

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