From whose perspective?

A mentor of mine had a very common question he would ask of colleagues. A colleague (including this one) would be recounting that a client meeting went well. The mentor would simply ask “From whose perspective?”

Let this question sink in. I mention it today as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met the past few days with his North Korean counterparts. At the same time he was recounting how much progress was made, the North Koreans were sharing their view. What we saw as progress, they referred to it as the US’ one sided “gangster-like” demands.

Further, there is footage of the North Korean officials asking Pompeo if he slept well on the second day of meetings. After he said he did, they said you should not have after the previous day’s meeting results. This statement is pretty telling that perspectives vary.

I am all for dialogue between countries that have issues. That is far better than the alternative. The Presidents of the US and South Korea deserve credit for rhe discussions with Kim Jong Un. But, it has been clear from the get go, the expectation levels are vastly different. Also, the preparation levels were and are very different. The North Koreans have studied this issue far more than the US leader’s team. For example, the key question we failed to understand is “why would North Korea cede a nuclear arsenal that they built to get people to respect and fear them?”

Perspective matters. This same mentor advised to “put yourself on the other side of the table.” In other words, do your best to understand what the other side wants and would accept. It applies to more than these discussions.

7 thoughts on “From whose perspective?

  1. Dear Keith,

    This is a crucial question for any competent sales person which tells me that President is the kind of used car sales person that everyone loves to hate. President Trump is the kind that will say anything /lie even to get the sale. Their style is to bully someone into a one time sale. He/ she will always be the ones that earn the most complaints from dissatisfied customers. He will not get repeat clients.

    The competent professional takes time to find out what is important to the client from his/ her perspective. Then the sales professional with ample knowledge about the company’s product, tailors the benefits of whatever product is being sold to address the consumer’s perspective. This takes a lot of listening.

    The president is the first type of salesperson which does not do well on the world stage.

    Hugs, Gronda

    • Gronda, I cannot say it any better than you have. In my old business, we made more money serving the long term needs of the client, which sometimes meant not making a sale of a service my company did not do as well as other services. Keith

  2. Decades ago, I had a nursing instructor that would often say “Perspective is everything.” I’ve always thought the same. Your thoughtful post proposes the same sentiment. “Put yourself on the other side of the table” is sound advice. Thank-you!

    • Ellen, thanks. I could see how this is critical to a nurse, especially with patients of varying and multiple problems and pain levels. Keith

  3. Note to Readers: A line I have used in working with younger consultants and analysts is we only a portion of a client’s inbox. What we have been working on for two weeks may be number eleven on a client’s list of twenty projects. So, it is imperative to bring them up to speed. Such as “When we were together a few weeks ago, you asked us to…”

  4. Wise advice, Keith – whether you’re negotiating in business, the political arena, or in your private life. Of course, no one expected Trump and his confederates to enter into talks with North Korea after undergoing thorough preparations.

    • Thanks John. Not only does he not prepare, he brags about it. A wise man knows what he does not know. This man does not want to know more saying he knows enough. Ergo…..

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