We tend to be unaware of all our options in any given moment. In my experience, we rarely see a fraction of the options available to us. What we see possible is primarily determined by our assumptions, unconscious biases, and belief systems that we have accepted as if they are settled fact. These all work in concert as a filtering system that automatically ejects any thoughts or considerations that run contrary to them.
There is a beauty to this in that it helps us quickly and efficiently sort through data that is coming at us at any given time. But, the downside of it is that it narrows the bandwidth of what we see possible, when the data at hand is outside our previously held assumptions and beliefs. When this occurs, it is either simply never seen, or quickly rejected as an option.
So, when you receive a request, you basically have three options:
- You can say yes to the request
- You can say no to the request
- Or you can negotiate the details of the request
The option we are going to focus on is negotiating the request. Often, we don’t see this as an option. It simply doesn’t occur to us. This diminishes the power we have in that situation…not the power to control, but the power to contribute to an optimal agreement. And this is true both for the person receiving the request and the person making the request.
Here is the main transformational presupposition that is in play here, if you choose to put it in play:
The person or element with the most flexibility in a system will have the most influence.
How does this apply in negotiating a request? Consider the following…
- In any interaction, we have assumptions about the way it is, the way they are, the way we are, what is possible and what is not possible. We tend to relate to these as fact.
- These assumptions are invariably not the entire story…..there is always an entire universe of possibility beyond them.
- Being consciously aware of this in the moment enables me to interrupt that natural way of relating and become open and curious about what could be in play that I am not seeing.
- I can make requests of my own, or ask questions to further explore the intent and details of the request I received to test my assumptions and see what is beyond them.
- Whenever I feel resistance to the other because I am feeling cornered, (or resistance from the other) I can respond with inquiry and exploration to seek common ground not yet discovered.
This style of flexibility is not “laying down.” It is not born in resignation or capitulation. It is born from actively seeking the unknown with a willingness to release my need to be right to see what is beyond my assumptions that could also work for the other.
Mastering the power of giving or receiving requests includes this type of flexibility as a fundamental orientation. It will give you the most choices, options, and variety to engage the interaction such that it opens the door to a successful agreement that sets you both up to win.
If you are able to respond to the request in a variety of ways, you are more likely to achieve a desired outcome. If you are able to respond to a reply to negotiate your initial request, you stay on track to a successful result.
People rarely do this consistently. It requires grounded presence. Try it out and share with us on Facebook what you discover.