The term above (sometimes abbreviated to the acronym WIIFM) is something that we all do naturally when deciding whether to support or fight against proposals at work and in our home lives.
Leadership and management staff are heavily involved in the ‘politics’ of the workplace as they seek to ensure the best outcome for their teams and departments. We are in constant negotiation with colleagues internally and suppliers externally.
What I want to explore in this short article is the benefit of switching the question “What’s in it for me?” to “What’s in it for them?” You can only do this if you can see the world through their eyes and have empathy for their situation, as well as their business and personal goals.
If you work in a larger organisation then networking across the entire organisation is absolutely key for career success. As such you should never miss the chance to spend time with peers from other departments. These relationships will take effort to build but you will see a massive return on your time investment.
Whether the project is being driven by you, or you are faced with a project from another department that will affect yours, you need to be in a position to ensure you can influence the situation. The ability to understand both the business and personal motivations of other people will allow you to influence effectively.
If the project is yours then talk to peers and discuss how it can benefit their departments or perhaps offer them the chance to become more actively involved in the implementation. The reward (What’s in it for them?) might be the chance to get involved in a high profile project that could get them noticed by the senior management team. If the project isn’t yours you might do the reverse of the above.
In order to influence people you must first win their trust, trust is won when what you say you will do and what you actually do are 100% the same. If you are networking at work then always try to help them with something BEFORE you ask them for help. Prove you are reliable and a person of your word. If they suspect you are just ‘talk’ you will get labelled as a purely selfish political player!
When working with suppliers never underestimate the power of agreeing to be a case study for them. Sales organisations are often willing to trade a discount in return for your agreement. It will cost you very little (just a bit of time) but it could get you a sizeable discount on the goods/services being procured.
So in summary I will use a quote from the sadly departed sales and motivational trainer Zig Ziglar; “You can get everything in life that you want by helping enough other people get what they want!”