Reviews & Profiles
Succeeding: Be specific
Posted Tuesday, January 22 2013 at 00:00
A hard working young man went to his employer to ask for a pay rise. “My boss (as he was typically called), I want a pay raise because you can see that the standard of living has shot through the roof,” he stated.
“Really?” the boss wondered.
“Yes of course. Can’t you see?” the young man shot back. Mr Employer paused for a few minutes while gazing through the young man’s eyes.
After clearing his voice, he calmly asked, “so, young man, what sort of raise do you want? How much exactly?”
The young man darted his eyes from left to right and started talking in a shaky voice “Ah…well, I’m sure you are also reasonable enough to offer me what is fair,” to which the employer responded, “Yeah, but I already believe that I’m offering you what is fair. So how much exactly do you want?” to which the young man started beating around the bush again.
What the proverbial employer was looking for was something specific. A number. A clear indication to be able to say yes or no. And he was right.
Why should he be left to wonder as to what was running through the young man’s head? He didn’t want to assume the role of God or an angel to know what the exact desires of his employee were.
In essence, he could have been specific. “I would like to get a 25 per cent pay rise” as an example. With that specificity, the employer would have been able to say “no”, “Yes” or “may be” meaning that it’s a possibility. It’s very helpful for him. What does this mean for you?
It may not be a salary raise but something else. It’s not just about asking people for help, be specific with what kind of help. I am sure that even when you are praying to God, it’s much better to be specific with your intentions. It’s not advisable to just say “Help me.” Help you with what?
I sometimes jokingly state in my talks that if you are interested in a romantic relationship, then you don’t have to dress it up as a prayer partner or discussion partner in order to create a “smooth” landing first before you communicate your real intentions. In the end, you will appear to be lacking authenticity. State what you want.
Can you imagine someone going to a market place which has lots of food stuffs and then shouting at the top of his or her voice, “Hey vendors, I want to buy some food stuffs.”
The first question before the vendors move would be, “What sort of food stuffs are you interested in?” The vendors would be looking for something specific in order to serve the customer better. And that’s the metaphor of life. The person who is better at specifying their intentions gets better service from the world.
So, in future, don’t hesitate. Specify. Don’t beat around the bush. Go straight to the point. Be specific and you will increase your chances of success.
Ethan is the CEO of Success Africa, a motivational speaker, author and HR consultant.