During a recent coaching session, a client and I recently debriefed a conversation she had had with an executive that hadn’t gone as well as she had expected. She had intended to gain commitment for her project in the form of sponsorship and reallocation of resources to support the project. What she got instead was… less than she had hoped.
While she thought the meeting went well and that some progress was made, she couldn’t shake the feeling that she could have done more. She was disappointed that the conversation didn’t have as big of an impact on the success of her project as she had planned for. She wondered, if she had been more persuasive, would she have achieved more of her goals for the conversation?
No matter how much you work on your personal influence, things won’t always go your way. There’s a good reason for that: There are other people working in your organization! If things always went your way, it would mean that you were either a) all-knowing or b) steam-rolling over everyone in your path.
Listen to what my client did achieve in this one conversation:
- Learned the truth about the budget for next year
- Received guidance on creating a task force to help get the project funded and implemented
- Gained agreement of the value of her project to the executive’s area of responsibility
- Aligned her project with another high-profile project that she previously didn’t know about.
Wow! That is definitely nothing to be disappointed about. In fact, if my client had simply gained a sponsor and a budget from the meeting as she had intended, in the long run, the project would likely not have as lasting an impact as the outcome and next steps that were developed during the meeting.
To achieve big things, you need to set high expectations for what you can accomplish. When you reach for the sky and then don’t get there, it can seem like perhaps you’ve done something wrong. If you feel disappointed after a meeting or conversation that you haven’t moved the needle far enough, take stock of the changes that did indeed happen, and consider…
“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find, you get what you need.”
~ The Rolling Stones