Career & Life Game Changer

One of the biggest revelations I’ve learned about relationships (professional and personal), I picked up years ago from McKinsey.

It was such a simple yet transformative concept.

Here’s the story.

At McKinsey, when I worked with a new client, I would conduct a round of initial introductory meetings with each member of the executive team.

This was an opportunity to meet them, introduce our role of the project the CEO requested, and a chance to get to know them.

During these meetings, I would often start by asking questions like:

  • What do YOU think the company should do to grow?
  • What do YOU see as the biggest obstacles to achieve the goal?

Typically, I’d go away for a few weeks to do some analysis and come back to report findings. It was customary to ask clients to update their original opinion on questions I asked them earlier in the process.

By this time, I had developed a relationship with all of them and knew them much better. During this time (usually three weeks into an engagement), I would intentionally ask my question slightly differently.

I’d re-ask the questions phrased as follows:

  • What do you think WE should do to grow?
  • What do you see as the biggest obstacles WE face to achieve the goal?

Did you notice the subtle shift in phrasing?

I shifted the pronoun usage and emphasis to the pronoun “WE.”

Pause for a moment.

Why would I bother to do that?

What is the point?

The psychology behind that one statement is SO powerful and it made a huge difference in my client relationships.

Here’s why.

When I use the pronoun “you,” it implies that “you” and “me” are separate.

You have your headaches. I have my headaches... and these headaches are separate.

However, when I say “we,” “we” includes “you” and “me.”

It implies “we” are in this together.

You don’t have headaches. I don’t have headaches.

WE together have headaches that only WE can solve.

This small shift was a total game changer for my professional career.

I used the same approach in industry when working cross-functionally with other departments that didn’t report to me.

It also works incredibly well when raising children.

It works well with a life partner.

Example:

“I didn’t like what ‘you’ did and ‘you’ need to fix it.”

versus

“I didn’t like what happened, and can ‘we’ work together to find a solution that works for both of ‘us’?”

That simple shift from a “you" versus “me" paradigm to a “we”-focused paradigm is a total career and life game changer.

Our words reflect our thinking. Change the words and you change the thinking.

Additional Resources

If you found this article useful and want to receive more articles like it, sign up to receive approximately two articles each week by email. Just fill out the form below:

First Name *
Email *

This form collects your name and email so that we can add you to our newsletter list on How to Live and Amazing Life. Check out our privacy policy for details on how we protect and manage your submitted data! www.caseinterview.com/privacy.

 

mail
Facebooklinkedin
0 comments… add one

Leave a Comment