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Thursday
Jan312013

Whoever gets it, gets it - the Los Angeles Mayoral Race

Only when you get where we are coming from, will we let you lead us to where you want us to go.

I have been watching and reading what the candidates for Mayor in Los Angles have been saying and how they're saying it.  I have also been watching how their potential voters are listening and what they're listening for. To be effective as a leader you need to get into the listening of the people you lead.  Everyone listens to something or someone and it will help you have impact if you understand what they listen for.

In our just published book, REAL INFLUENCE: Persuade Without Pushing and Gain Without Giving In, my co-author Dr. John Ullmen and I discovered that the more you "get your people" the more you get through to them and furthermore get their support, or in this case their vote.

Getting people means answering three questions in people's minds that you must answer for them before they will give you their support or vote.

  1. "Do you get me?" - There is a saying that "people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."  When people are frustrated, scared, overwhelmed, angry, skeptical and even cynical, they want you to know that's how they feel AND when they feel that way, they don't particularly want to be sold.  Something good to keep in mind is that a skeptic is someone who is reluctant to believe; a cynic is someone who refuses to believe.  A skeptic is someone who once believed and was disappointed and hurt; a cynic is someone who once believed and was betrayed and traumatized.  However, deep inside all skeptics and even many cynics is a desire to believe again, but to do so safely without the fear of being disappointed, hurt, betrayed or re-traumatized.
  2. “Do you get it?” – When people feel that you get them, they are then wondering if you “get it” as in do you get the situations that most touch their and their families’ lives and that are most important, critical and urgent (we call this taking it to the ICU) to address and solve.  People are listening to what you think is important, why that and what priority you give it.
  3. “Do you get the way to where we need, want and could be?” – With this people are listening for your specific chosen goals and outcomes and your plan and your strategy and specific steps for achieving them.  At this point for you to get “buy in” and “vote in” from the public whose votes you are seeking, whatever you come up with needs to: a) feel right - as in, “Yes, you have chosen the right goals, priorities and plan;” b) makes sense – what you have come up with is a reasonable course to set for our collective future; c) is doable – this is probably the most important element.  This is not about whether your goals and plans are reasonable, this is whether they are realistic and doable by everyday people and the people who will need to execute it.

If you disagree with the above, I’m guessing you won’t disagree with the likelihood of your losing votes if instead the three “gets” you do the opposite. 

How likely are you going to get anyone’s vote if: a) instead of getting them, you seem totally out of touch (are you listening Mitt); b) instead of getting the situations that are most important, critical and urgent to your voters, you select ones that seem to only focus on a select few (again rightly or wrongly, the 1% instead of the 99%); c) instead of getting the way to accomplish your goals, objectives and outcomes that will be both realistic and the rising tide that lifts all boats, you offer a plan that is unrealistic and will only lift some boats and possibly drive others onto the rocks.

How would your people --whose vote of confidence and commitment that you seek – rate you on getting them, getting it and getting the way to a shared future that feels right, makes sense and is doable?

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