Picture it: November 10, 2007. A beautiful wedding. An elegant reception. A three-day honeymoon in the Bahamas. You return home and discover that in this short time, everyone you know has applied for and earned a degree in marriage counseling. Ok – maybe not everyone. But in the last seven months, my wife and I have received more advice about marriage than we’ve ever received about any other topic combined and yesterday was no exception.
My wife, Jamie, and I were at church sitting in the kitchen area eating dinner with her team of dancers. After we finished our meal (and cracking jokes), I slipped into my usual routine of cleaning the table. We have an unspoken and unwritten rule at our house – whoever doesn’t cook cleans the table. So having all but retired my apron in the bachelor’s hall of fame, I assumed my normal duties of gathering the plates and disposing of them. When I got to the trash can and started scraping the plates, a middle-aged married lady met me there and began to express her concerns about me cleaning the table. Immediately, I felt the trash can transform into a chaise lounge of sorts and I knew the counseling session had begun. We ended on a good note and I walked back to the table with a lot to think about (and even more to laugh about…).
Both my wife and I are pretty independent people. We know how to operate separately from one another. But in the last 7 months, we’ve been working towards interdependence. In working as a team, I have learned first-hand, the effectiveness of the word “please“. Not only do I use the word, but I’ve begun to create a lifestyle based on its implications. In my first blog It’s Not about the Money, we talked about Cooperative Money- the kind that’s created when you work together. Let’s forget about the money for the next 60 seconds (unless you’re a bank teller, reading this blog while operating the drive-thru window) and talk about the birthplace of cooperation – the power of please.
Please is more than a word. It’s a posture, an attitude, an outlook. If you want someone to work with you, your actions should say “please work with me”. If you would like to have a good friend, your actions should communicate that you are friendly and trustworthy. If you work for a company or own your own business, your personal appearance should convey a desire to best serve your customer/client base. Not that you become a people pleaser, but you want to ensure that you are pleasing and that your people are pleased. When people are pleased they operate at peak performance. When people aren’t pleased, they may become perturbed or even pi…(this is a “G” rated blog, so hopefully you get the pi…cture 😉 In between being a people pleaser and perturbing people, you will find the power of please.
A powerful please is more than a word and too authentic to be an afterthought. In working with others, a powerful please goes a long way. I’m not talking about the kind of please that a six-year old will give when they want your last piece of bubble gum. That’s a patronizing please – it has no power. A true please is genuine and comes from a true desire to work with others to accomplish mutually beneficial goals. Because you care about them, their goals become important to you and your goals become a priority for them. If they aren’t pleased, they simply won’t cooperate. Some will become abrasive, while others simply leave and you’ll never hear from them again. A powerful please is a product of your everyday life.
I’ve met people who claim that they don’t have a need for others. Others try to do everything themselves (I typically fall into this category). And some people just don’t work well in groups. But with about six billion people on the earth, you would have to go to great lengths to totally avoid people. In order to work well with others, its important to understand that there are positions or postures associated with the power of please. Here are 4 please postures that you can try:
- Share your plans. Fill people in on the vision, strategy and details of what you want to accomplish. This says “please, let’s work together.”
- Influence people. By influencing people, we shape their lives. A true fit never happens by force and manipulation. Force is external, but influence is internal. Make the inner connection and they will make the external change.
- Consider others’ concerns. A lot of times, people just want to know that you’re thinking about them and what they’re concerned about. And strangely enough, they want you to anticipate their concerns before hand (crazy isn’t it). When you can anticipate someone’s concerns, it shows that you have them in mind.
- Tell, show and tell. Replace “telling” with “showing”. This conceptual age is full of new ideas and everyone is a consultant in their own right. Couple your information with action and let your action speak for itself. When this happens, your actions tell people to “please follow my lead.”
So the next time you say “please“, take a minute and ask yourself what kind of power was in your please. The power of your please will determine your final product.
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