Monday, May 14, 2012

Do you stand up for what you want?

While Selena Rezvani’s new book was written for women, men can also learn a great deal about asking for and standing up for what they want. In Pushback, readers learn to focus on their negotiation skills. According to Rezvani, “The art of asking for something we want is about having a voice. When we advocate on our own behalf, we know that we’re deserving of good things, that we’re smart enough to handle whatever unfolds at the negotiating table, and that we only get what we ask for.”

Consider this situation: you have performed well beyond your supervisor’s stated expectations at work and deserve to be in charge of the next major project in your department. You may also deserve a new title or a promotion, or even a raise. You have an annual review coming up soon and know that your supervisor will commend your work because everyone in the company knows you have surpassed your goals. But you are hesitant about speaking up. Sound familiar?

According to Rezvani, here are some questions to ask yourself:

[1] Will I have regrets if I do or don’t act in some way on this? If I suspect I will have regrets, what are they?

[2] What should I do? Listen to the first answer that comes into your mind.

[3] Imagine that you are 10 years older, how would the “older me” counsel the “younger me” on this issue?

[4] What is the cost of not acting on this issue? What are the potential gains of moving forward?

[5] What would I tell my best friend to do in this situation?

[6] How does my counterpart like to be communicated with?

[7] How can we make this work for both us?

[8] What action can I take to make saying yes easier for my counterpart?

[9] Can you (your supervisor) explain how you arrived at that decision?

[10] Can you (your supervisor) walk me through how decisions like these are determined?

Carol Ann Petren, Executive VP and General Counsel of MacAndrews and Forbes Holdings, Inc., explained about risk-taking, “I developed early in life a comfort level with going out on a limb knowing it could break. Risk taking has served me well throughout my career, and quite frankly, opened many doors that I would not otherwise have walked through.”

The truth is, we may not always be liked. We may not always feel comfortable. But think about the co-worker or family member you admire for their gutsiness or persistence. What makes them different from others? Think about a time when they showed their true grit – what did that look like, and what happened afterward?

Rezvani’s advice is to face your strengths and weaknesses, seek out new experiences, lead an initiative, build up and test your tolerance for risk. Look for opportunities to refine your skills, broaden you as a person, and build your confidence. “Pushback skills can remain uncomfortable and unpleasant, like going to the dentist [or they can become comfortable.] You decide which.”

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