Bill Liao: Compassion will get you further than conflict

publiziert: Montag, 15. Nov 2010 / 11:37 Uhr / aktualisiert: Montag, 22. Nov 2010 / 15:56 Uhr

Heated argument was what I was witnessing earlier this week I saw and heard the conversation between two business people and it clearly ended badly. I decided to step in afterwards and ask one of them, who I knew a little, what the cause of the problem was.

Weiterführende Links zur Meldung:

Bill Liao Business-Philosophy
Excerpts from Bill Liaos Book on how to do business

Of course this was a rather impetuous maneuver on my part as I did not know the other guy at all and neither did I know the guy I was asking particularly well yet he appeared quite distressed so I asked.

What followed was a lot of negativity and bad mouthing of the other person as he got worked up and yet as I listened and let him get it all out he gradually became calmer. I then asked what made him keep doing business with the other guy when he clearly did jot like him and he answered that the other fellow was a key supplier and really the only cost effective option but that neither of them ever agreed on anything so it was driving them both nuts.

So then I asked what had them start doing business together and I was gratified to know that they had both met on XING and that initially everything had gone very well between them and this had lasted for two years and then out of the blue they had started to disagree. My favorite question to ask in these circumstances is «Is how you are approaching him now getting you the result you want?» and so here was my opportunity.

What's the worst thing to happen, if you let the other guy win?

He was taken completely aback and almost looked a little angry yet he looked much more surprised by the question and after few seconds thought he replied that no, things were definitely not being helped by the arguments. So then I asked him what would be the worst thing about letting the other fellow win the argument? Again a look of surprise and followed by some deep thought. His fear was that he would end up paying more, yet it turned out that the other fellow was not asking for more money he just needed more notice before he could supply.

We talked for quite a while then about what had my guy so upset and eventually he admitted, that the other fellow annoyed him, because he felt that the other fellows business was not well organized internally and so my guy was always asking for stuff early, because he was afraid that he would be supplied late; yet the other fellow had never let him down. At this point I suggested that perhaps the cost of my guy being dominant and right about everything outweighed the benefit as he was clearly eroding the relationship. As my Ferry was delayed, I offered that he bring the other fellow back and have a quick chat with me there to referee.

I asked my guy to do only one thing. I asked him to listen with compassion for all the other fellows faults and that is what to his credit I can say he did. The whole process took 15 minutes and at the end they parted on much better terms and I heard today from my guy that they just signed their biggest cooperation to date. So rather than trying to be right and point at someones weaknesses try a little listening with compassion instead and just maybe you will end up much better off.

(by Bill Liao/
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