The next step is to clarify your goals and priorities:
- What are your business goals?
- How does the current situation make it difficult/impossible to achieve these goals?
- What problems need to be solved with your colleagues?
- What is the priority order of those problems?
- What do you want to achieve in your collaboration with your colleagues?
Do this in writing. If a group of you is going to engage with colleagues in another department, do this preparation together.
Now you need to think about the world of your colleagues. What are they experiencing as survival threats? What are they trying to achieve? What is keeping them up at night? What do they experience every time they deal with you or your team? Get into their shoes. Sit in their chair. This is an essential part of your preparation, and will help you to keep the discussion positive and forward-focused. Remember that all behaviour is completely logical to the person behaving – so get into their heads so that you can understand their intentions or concerns.
The fourth part of your preparation is to identify currencies – the things you can trade in order to get what you want. These are the things that are important to you and the things that are important to your colleagues. For example, your currency might be competitive Repairs and Maintenance Contracts and turnaround times of less than 8 hours. Their currency might be detailed information and a 12 hour turnaround time. Once again, it is important to make the effort to get into the heads of your colleagues. You can only understand what they value if you get into their heads. There is no need for conflict if you have already thought these things through and can already offer what your colleagues want.
The fifth part of your preparation is to remember that everything is achieved through relationships. If you value the relationship and put it front and centre, and you remember that you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar, this will take you a long way.
Finally, once you are in the discussion, you will influence through give and take – this is an exchange of your respective currencies. Go into the discussion clear on what you are prepared to give – and err on the side of generosity because it will make the discussion go so much more smoothly.