The Law of WIFM—What's in it for Me?

Whether people are open enough to say it or not, every one of us in every relationship or interaction is focused on a single question: “What's in it for me?” Whether you are dating someone new, negotiating with your long-term partner, or interviewing for a position, both parties are focused on the value they hope to receive from the potential relationship or interaction. Knowing this is a powerful tool in interpersonal relationships.

What's in it for Them?

When you engage someone, whether it is a new relationship or a new project with an old colleague, the first question you should ask yourself, “What's in it for them?” What does the other person hope to get out of the interaction with you? How can others benefit from working with you? What can you do that will make a tangible difference in their success? We all have a personal agenda. We are all more interested in our own objectives than in other people's. We all want to work with people who are willing and able to help us forward our agendas and accomplish our objectives. As a leader and an effective executive, you need to develop a reputation as one of those people. The problem is, most of us are so focused on what's in it for us that we never achieve those results! It has been my experience that the best way to get what you need is to help others get what they need. This is not meant as a path to sainthood but as a pragmatic approach to being effective in the hard, cold world of business. ...

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