How to manage your boss, customers, partners…

4th April 2017

"All animals are equal. But some animals are more equal than others."

It’s the same with us…

"All people are equal. But some people are more equal than others."

In other words, out of everyone you know, there are certain people you must impress. Your boss, customers, partners, and so on.

There are lots of ways to do this, of course. And these broadly split into two categories:

  • Don’t do stupid things you know not to do. So, always be punctual; never late. Always look professional; never shabby. Always prepare; never wing it. You know… all the obvious stuff that people often forget. And…
  • Do impressive things they weren’t expecting

To impress them, both are critical.

For example, if you try an impressive thing, but turn up unprepared, late and shabby… well, that just won’t work.

But, assuming you already are doing the obvious stuff (the first bullet), here’s a great new way to impress them in unexpected ways (the second) – my 3Hs:

  1. Hot priorities
  2. How can I help?
  3. How about?

#1 Hot priorities

Find out what their main priorities are.

The easiest way to do this? Ask them.

And the best words to use in your question? "What are your priorities?"

Once you know these, it’s miles easier to impress and influence them. You simply need to do things that help them with these priorities. Here’s how…

#2 How can I help?

After they’ve told you their priorities, ask them how they’d like you to help with them.

They’ll either suggest something; or they won’t.

If it’s the former, do it. That way, you’re helping yourself by helping them.

If they don’t have ideas, go to the third H….

#3 How about?

Here, you suggest ways how you can help with their priorities.

You might have ideas now. In which case, you say "How about I do X for you?"

Or you might need time to think about how you can help. In which case, say "How about I reflect on how I can best help, and then come back to you?" (Let’s face it, they’re pretty likely to agree to this).

I like the 3Hs. It’s easy to remember. It pretty much always works. It has never done any harm – to me when I say it, or my customers when they do.

Worth a try?

Action point

Identify the person you most want to impress.

Think how/when you can use the 3Hs with them. You don’t need to organise an official "3Hs meeting". Just drop it into conversation when you’re speaking with them anyway. Both of you will be pleased you did.

Also, when I’ve asked the second H to a my customers – "How can I help you with your priorities?" – many said they wanted more help, more often – not just on Tuesdays. They said things like "I’m always great at communicating on a Tuesday morning – but then work kicks in". If this sounds like you, have a look at this – it’ll remind you how to communicate brilliantly every single day.

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