Ninth in a series of ten maxims I’ve cultivated and use regularly to enhance business.
Conventional wisdom tends to reward fast action in business. Respond quickly. Think on your feet. Anticipate needs.
I like responsiveness and proactive action as well. But quick action is not always needed nor effective and thus does not apply universally.
In some situations, the more strategic response is to Let It Play Through.
Example: Have you just put an offer on the table?
I’ve seen good people get nervous waiting for a response, or tie themselves up in knots trying to anticipate nearly every possible request or objection. You know how it can play out when one is not patient in such offer-making situations: “And if that doesn’t work for you, we could offer this…and this…or we can give you …or perhaps a discount…etc.”
Hold on and be patient. Let It Play Through. Give the other party time to internalize and embrace your offer. And time to enlighten you with their response such as about their true needs or questions. Jumping in early can mean lost opportunities and lost value for you and all concerned. Also, your nervousness or lack of patience can give the impression that you’re indecisive and may not stand behind what you’re offering. Therefore, be patient, wait and listen – and learn what really matters most to them.
Example: Is a potential business partner slow to move forward with your joint plans?
Try Letting It Play Through. The foot-dragging could be a cue to a whole range of things, such as:
- Maybe the other party is less eager for the partnership or plan than you thought – in which case forcing a decision or action now can cause resentment and even a broken relationship, while alternatively Letting It Play Through can provide space and time either for coming to agreement on something you both can fully commit to, or parting amicably with an intact relationship.
- Maybe some distraction is happening in your partner’s business or personal life – in which case Letting It Play Through shows respect for your partner, which can pay dividends in your eventual business relationship.
- Maybe your partner needs time to disentangle from commitments that could interfere with the plan or partnership – in which case, again, the relationship and plan results can benefit from Letting It Play Through.
Whatever the reason, if you allow some space and time and Leave the Door Open, the situation tends to become clear, as does the right next step.
For golfers, letting someone play through means letting another party move ahead of you on the course, so they can get through more quickly. Let’s be clear: when I say Let It Play Through, it’s not about letting the competition get ahead of you. It’s about gathering the insights you need and making the strategic decision, at the right time… and having the Calm Confidence to and skills to catalyze desired events to unfold.
Let It Play Through isn’t always the right tactic. But it’s a tool and a mindset option that can boost impact and effectiveness, when used at the right time.
Check out our previously-posted Maxims for Impact and Effectiveness, all of which I find myself repeating often. I hope they resonate with you as they do with scores of business owners and leaders we have coached, advised, or otherwise helped. Watch this space for number 10 – coming soon!
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