Who Gets You

I had lunch with a long standing client the other day. We talked music and family and what’s going on for him at work. We talked through why he felt he had hit a wall, and my take on it was that he has a toxic monster in the form of a large client – a D class client masquerading as an A. Lots of revenue, no profit, no joy, no pleasure in any respect.

We went through how he has to get rid of them and replace with them with genuine As, which won’t be possible until he detoxes the business.

Afterwards he sent me note, thanking me for my time and advice, and concluding with “Mike, you get me”. I was really chuffed by the comment, and I thought about what led him to say it, because whenever we do something well we should understand how we do it so we can practice it and do it even better.

It’s a great standard for anybody who works with people as clients or employees. Would your people say that you “get” them?

You could say that it’s about empathy, but that doesn’t tell us a lot. I have always been empathetic, able to stand in someone else’s shoes. Does that mean if you’re not empathetic by nature, you won’t “get” people? I don’t think so.

The critical element to “getting” people is understanding their strengths and their weaknesses, in particular how their strengths always have a flip side. Determination is admirable, but when it becomes stubborn inflexibility it is counter-productive. Flexibility is admirable until it becomes inconsistency. Those boundaries are hard to see from within.

Another and related aspect is understanding peoples’ passions, what energises them and what brings them down. You don’t have to be a great listener to pick when peoples’ energy and enthusiasm rise in a conversation. Then you listen for where their energy falls – that tells you where the problem is. The rising energy tells you where the solution is. Most coaching comes down to helping people solve or avoid the uninspiring areas and move themselves to the areas that inspire them.

Two very difficult questions:

•    Who gets you?

•    Who do you get?


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