By October 9, 2008 5 Comments Read More →

Balance Your Needs and Responding to Requests

BalanceYourNeedsAndRespondingToRequests
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Balance taking care of your own needs and responding to requests.  If you can’t take care of yourself, then you can’t take care of other people.  The more effective you are, the more you can effectively help others.  The more you help others, the more they’ll help you.  Manage your plate effectively.   You are in the best position to know what’s on your plate.  Biting off more than you can chew lets yourself down and lets others down, as you drop the ball here and there.  Don’t let yourself down.  Instead, say no more effectively.  For example, if you’re plate is full, say you’ll take it on, only if they can take something off or help you reduce your plate. If it’s not a win-win, look for the non-obvious win-win.   In Influence Without Authority (2nd Edition), Allan Cohen and David Bradford write about balancing your needs with the requests of others. 

Be More Collaborative and Helpful Than Everyone Else
You can compete without being competitive.  Be more collaborative and helpful than everyone else.  However, don’t forget to balance your own needs.  Cohen and Bradford write:

The people in the vast middle of organizations can falter if they don’t keep these opposite necessities in balance.

Be Inventive in Win-Win Outcomes
Your outcomes don’t have to be win-win.  With slight adjustments, you can usually find a win-win, and build momentum with colleagues along the way.  Cohen and Bradford write:

The second guideline is to be as inventive as you can in creating win-win outcomes where you can achieve your goals while helping others achieve theirs.

Key Take Aways
Here’s my key take aways:

  • You can compete without being competitive by being more collaborative and helpful than others.
  • Balance your needs with the requests of others.
  • Be creative with finding win-wins and 3rd alternatives.

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5 Comments on "Balance Your Needs and Responding to Requests"

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  1. This is similar to something Avani Mehta touched on: saying no. I liked that she tied it to integrity (don’t take on so much that you can’t follow through), and that seems to be an underlying point here.

    I certainly like the sentiment that I’m the one who knows my schedule best. For me, having the confidence to say no without guilt comes from knowing that saying yes would have negative consequences for both myself and the requestor.

  2. JD says:

    @Sara – that’s a crisp way to put it … negative consequences for yourself and the requestor.

  3. The balance is in the intention to honor each moment. Many times the moment I am in finds me alone and with my puppy. That moment offers me solace and self care. At other times, I find myself engaged with others, and if I did the self nuture moments well, there is almost always love and energy to spare.
    What is that saying on the airlines? “Apply the oxegen mask to yourself, BEFORE you help your child or someone else.”

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