Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Day 25 – WorkStep Twelve: Cutting A Deal...


A few weeks ago, BodyChance was contacted by a successful businessman in Tokyo. This man owns several buildings, runs several businesses, and has contacts with government departments, universities and local business figures. He stated: “I believe in Alexander Technique. What can I do to help you? Tell me.”

Um, OK. What do I say? What do I want?

All around you, especially amongst your present and past students, there are people who want to help you. Grateful people, who simply love the work and want to see it blossom in the world. Maybe they didn’t say so, because – like us – they are mystified by the Alexander Technique business model, and have no idea what help they could give.

Usually the question you ask is: what can they do for me? Wrong question. Ask instead: what can you do for them? Human beings are basically wired to seek gratification, reward. They are also wired to give, but then expect to receive in a balanced way. When you take, without giving back – no matter what the person tells you – you move into imbalance. The relationship will go dysfunctional. Eventually, the “giver” will tire of their position, and start behaving in slightly weird, incongruent and perplexing ways. Unless your partner is enlightened, this is a fact of life.

The way you avoid that is give first, take later. And there’s the rub. What if you don’t know what you want to give them, because you don’t know what you can take back? That’s exactly how I feel about the wonderful offer I received.

So my primary objective when I meet next week will be to figure out: how can I help this man? Once I have a clear answer to that question, I can then ask – What do I get back for doing this? Perhaps I sound too calculating in the face of such generosity, but I know from past experience that generosity usually comes with a use-by date.

This man may be a philanthropist – so his “return” could be in seeing projects he instigated bringing great benefits to other people. It’s not just money. However, you do need to consider the size of the “return” based on the effort you put in. One in, how many out? So for example, “1 in, 1 out” is not a growth model. However, “1 in, 10 out” is a growth model. What you count can be abstract or concrete. I prefer the concrete, which is why money is my measure.

Look around you. Make a list of all your past and present students. Ask: What do I have to offer any of them? People want money/position, encouragement/respect, peace of mind, a sense of meaning. Do you have it in your capacity to offer any of these? If you do, ask – what could they give back that would help you?

The best deal is where both of you get something you need, in quantities you want. It does not need to be proportionally the same, it does need to be balanced in the minds of both deal makers.

TOMORROW: WorkStep Twelve – Contented Deal-Making.

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