While most people were probably welcoming and enjoying the beginning of a long, relaxing holiday weekend, I spent Saturday morning chasing a deer around all two acres of my back yard, trying to herd it toward the open gate that it just couldn’t seem to find. We eventually helped it to freedom, but what did I learn from this awkward and unprecedented dilemma? You can’t make someone (or something) do what you want him to do.
The baby deer, probably all of 18″ high and weighing in at maybe 12 pounds, had spent the past two days looking for an escape from our fenced-in yard, crying all night long and pathetically jumping against the fence until its face bled. It was really sad. Not sure how he got inside of the fence that he couldn’t jump over to get out, we tried to help the poor thing. But good intentions weren’t getting us anywhere. We opened all of the gates and tried herding him toward the exits, but it just left both him and us out of breath and no where closer to a solution.
The deer was scared and exhausted and we were almost ready to give up when it occurred to me – why are we trying to get him to cooperate? He’s not going to work with us or go where we want him to go. We needed to work with him. (Sound like any uncooperative parties you’ve had the pleasure of dealing with?) Instead of trying to get the deer to use our exit, we needed to make an exit for him. So I went to the far corner of the fence, where he kept trying to get out, and pulled apart the fencing. I knew he’d run back over there soon, and this time he’d find the escape that he’d been hoping for. Within a few minutes, he was back at the corner of the fence and leaping to freedom. I quickly closed the fencing back up so that we wouldn’t be housing any more wildlife in our back yard.
So why am I telling you about my chase this weekend? Because when I figured out what we had to do to free this uncooperative deer, I realized that it was a lot like dealing with uncooperative clients, companies and people. You can’t make them do what you want them to do. Most of the time it just won’t work.
So how do you get what you want? You use what they do naturally to your advantage. Don’t try to convince the client that they need something – explain how they will use it, and then it’s not even an option or a question. Now they need it. It’s like herding a deer out of the yard – create the opening where they need it.