Chapter 16

It Takes Two to Collaborate

How to Position and Influence

It’s no secret that collaboration takes (at least) two; indeed, it is the basis for all interpersonal connections. It requires cooperation and working jointly to achieve a mutual goal or outcome. We influence and collaborate with others in nearly everything we do, both for business and social interactions.

The essential nature of influencing and collaboration involves two basic components or tendencies:

1. Our inner driving needs and what people want
2. Our inner concerns and what people fear or don’t want

The first of these factors is aspirational. In other words, it is linked to what we want for ourselves and for those important to us. It involves our goals and objectives. Therefore, we will seek to exert a positive influence in order to achieve these goals. We accept others’ influence when it is consistent with these goals. The concept of aspirational influence is also referred to as moving toward the carrot—or making our way toward what we want.

The second of these factors is protective—linked to what we want to avoid or minimize for ourselves and those important to us. Therefore, we will seek to exert a negative influence to avoid an outcome we don’t want. We resist others’ influence when it may lead to unwanted outcomes. The concept of protective influence is also referred to as moving away from the stick—in the opposite direction of what we don’t want.

Everyone is familiar with the Golden Rule: “Do to ...

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