Capture the flag!

If you come to a discussion with a set position you turn the discussion into a game of capture the flag.

The goal then becomes to affect the position you have staked territory on.  This greatly limits creativity in regards to end goals.

We often unconsciously do this by stating a position and settling on it before considering all of our options and talking with the people who matter most (friends, partners, employees, customers.) If you plan on negotiating from your position… you have already shot your self in the foot (going with the military strategy metaphor:-).)

Try stating things in regards to goals you would like to achieve instead of positions. Remember, it is EASY to add your favorite tactics or tools after others have contributed.  And try not to create goals that predetermine tactics. For example: “I want 10K twitter followers by tomorrow” as a stated goal instead of, “I want to have a viable two way conversation with our most influential customers.”

Don’t accidentally make tactics and tools the end goal and the primary focus for your team.  Goals are the true end game – don’t lose sight of them.

PS: Capture the flag is a great teaching tool for your troops when it comes time to determine how best to use the tools and tactics given :-) Just don’t limit them upfront!

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