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For Greater Business Success, Give To Get

Without question, every person has their own goals and agendas and is looking out for their welfare. We all focus on our self-interests to pursue winning results as we define them. 

According to Frank Carone, chairman of Oaktree Solutions and co-author of Everyone Wins! How You Can Enhance and Optimize Business Relationships Just Like Ultra-Wealthy Entrepreneurs, “When entrepreneurs and corporate executives or government leaders are instrumental in helping other people in achieving their goals and agendas, doing so can strongly motivate these other people to help them reach their own goals and agendas. This is key to effective one-on-one leadership, skillful negotiations, and the highest quality of networking.”

Align Objectives
To enhance relationships, you need to determine what the other people in those relationships desire and require, along with what makes them feel insecure and anxious. Armed with these insights, you can help them achieve their dreams while also helping mitigate the negatives.

The core idea behind this approach is understanding the interests of the people you are dealing with so they can help you because of both your enlightened self-interest or because you’re adding value. For instance, when your recommendations and actions benefit them, they are highly likely to say yes when you ask them for something. 

Direct alignment is when you and other people have the same or very similar goals but usually for different reasons. Because everyone is aligned with the objectives, the issue becomes how the various parties can achieve mutually desired results. 

As a company owner, for example, you want your profits to soar to provide you with income and create equity value. If you can convey to your employees why this is good for them—how they can expect to benefit if the company’s profits soar—then you have directly aligned your interests and created enlightened self-interest. 

Connecting the dots for people makes it relatively easy for everyone to be in direct alignment. In the right circumstances, direct alignment is a pretty straightforward way to help everyone achieve their goals. That said, there may be times when some cleverness and mental effort are needed to identify meaningful overlap between self-interests.

Make Yourself Useful
Adding value is useful when you want something from other people, but they want something different from you. For example, you might want to be introduced to a prospective client your business associate knows. While that introduction might benefit you, your associate may not obviously benefit. That means the person has to see why helping you can benefit them. 

Delivering added value operates as a quid pro quo. You take specific actions to help other people explicitly achieve their interests that are distinct from your interests. Because you’re helping them achieve their goals and agendas, they “owe” you. To pay you back, they’ll be strongly inclined to fulfill your requests, take your recommendations, and so on. 

However, remember that this value-add approach doesn’t typically result in a one-for-one arrangement where you do something for someone. Then that person immediately turns around and repays you. It’s better to think about delivering added value as a gestalt; it’s a composite of the value you bring over time that gets you significant help in return. As people’s interests are almost always multifaceted, you should look to find different ways to be seriously helpful throughout the relationship. 

Stand Out From The Crowd
Only a very select group of people thoughtfully use these approaches to strategically and systematically enhance their professional relationships. However, they’re the most successful, such as many ultra-wealthy, super-rich and billionaire entrepreneurs. But they’re not doing anything you cannot do. These approaches are available to everyone. It’s a powerful way to get what you want by helping other people get what they want. 

Russ Alan Prince is the executive director of Private Wealth magazine and chief content officer for High-Net-Worth Genius. He consults with family offices, the wealthy, fast-tracking entrepreneurs and select professionals.


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