We often go into a situation with preconceived notions about what we want and what the benefits are to the other person or organization.

This applies to partnerships, client relationships, vendor relationships, employee-employer relationships, and personal relationships.

Don't jump to the solution until you really understand the problem.

Otherwise your hammer will make everything a nail.

How do you get this understanding?

You ask and then… listen.

Simple in concept? You bet. Hard for most of us to pull off consistently? Certainly or the world of relationships would be a lot simpler.

Business Owners

What are your personal goals? Does your role in the business align with your passion? How will the business work for you to create the life you want? If you have partners, you need to ask and resolve this.


Does your client really have the problem your solution fits? Do they care enough about it to want to spend money, time and incur "risk" to solve it? What are their business and personal goals? Etc. Only after you build trust and understand the real problems and needs can you earn the right to present a solution.


As employers it is easy to assume that employees want certain things. You need to build an environment of trust and open communication. Only then will most employees tell you what they want from the relationship with their employer.

While the onus is perceived to be on the employer by most employees, it is probably wise for employees to share their career goals and passions with their employer. How can you get want you want from your career if you don't ask?


We need to avoid presenting solutions as fixes to every problem. Understand the problem first. Build trust and open communication and ask.

Sometimes, the other person doesn't understand the problem, issues or what they really want. This is where you can shine…. help the other person figure it out. Then once they agree that it is a problem in the first place and they want a solution… well, then it is time to present your solution… but only if it fits.

What does the other person (party) really want?