I’m struck at how often people unknowingly forget to find and/or understand a client’s personal values. Without knowing these values, how can you tailor your recommendation, lead a team or recommend a change?
Here’s a hint…it’s all in the listening. (sound familiar?) Yeah…I’ve posted previously about listening first!
Your Values May Not Be Their Values
Generally we look at our own circumstances and make decisions from them. I’ve found and benefited from suspending my own circumstances or opinion of an issue and allowed meetings to remain ambiguous for a while. Many aspects open up when I pause to determine the values and beliefs of my listeners BEFORE I look/decide from mine. And then, I ask some pointed questions that help uncover the values that drive their business decisions. Questions such as:
* What’s important to you personally this year?
* How do you want to be viewed by your clients and internal management team?
* What do you value most in a relationship?
Questions like these affirm people. They say to a client your values are important to me. It also may give them time to consider their own values and define them better for themselves. And you made that happen, increasing the value they put on your counsel.
How to React to Their Values
A further reason to determine a person’s values is to discover HOW to align your recommendations with them. Without this effort, you risk being seen as selfish. The “it’s all about me” message comes through loud and clear if you align your solutions based on your values and opinions. The more someone shares their values the easier it is to align with them and tailor your ideas.
Take, for example, Millennials. Depending on your generation, you may not have the same values they do. The World Economic Forum wrote about Millennials last year, saying they will be “the first generation to be worse off than their parents.” Think that influences their values? And if your mindset is that these are just young people (even though some are now in their late 30s!) and that they will come around…that’s the selfishness I mentioned above. YOU have to come around first, understand where they are coming from and where they want to go. Much has been made of their short attention spans due to technology…well that applies to your recommendations too. If you don’t address their issues from a perceptive that understands their values, they will simply move on. Next!
That’s just one example of how clients’ values must shape your recommendations. As you lead a group of people, be sensitive to this. Understand what a team of people collectively value to frame your go-forward actions. Knowing these values also tells you how to relate to people and manage/lead them.
What are some core values your clients’ possess? Share them with a reply below. Thanks! -SG