Bob Burg: Influence
The legendary Bob Burg shares some powerful insight on the word “Influence” Listen in on our conversation and enjoy learning from being a fly on the wall to our discussion.
Find out more about Bob Burg here:
- Website: www.burg.com
- Bob Burg on Amazon
- Twitter: @BobBurg
- Bob Burg on LinkedIn
The full transcript
Phil Jones: So today we have our very first edition of a brand new series which I’m calling “Words With Friends”, and it is very much exactly what it says on the feed. This is me having a conversation about words, having some words with some people I adore who also could be described as my friends. Today I have the legend that is Bob Burg. Welcome, Bob.
Bob Burg: Thank you. It’s so great to be with you, have a cup of coffee with you and you’re the one who knows exactly what to say. I don’t. But I’ve learned from you and I try to get close to it.
Phil Jones: Well Bob, I’ve been learning from you for years so we are like 10 year anniversary from you putting out The Go-Giver book. I can’t believe that was 10 years ago. And I remember picking up my first copy thinking, wow this has changed the world of personal development books for me and gone on to follow your work since. So calling you now a friend is a true gift.
Bob Burg: Likewise.
Phil Jones: But today we’re talking about something different. You’ve got a new book. You’re at it again putting another one out in The Go-Giver series. And I was fortunate enough to be one of the few that got my hands on this ahead of time. This is The Go-Giver Influencer which is a little story about a most persuasive idea where you’ve collaborated with John David Mann again on a book about influence. Why do another book?
Bob Burg: Oh. Great question because you always wonder, aren’t there enough books out there? And we kind of felt the timing was good for this one. We’re right now seeing a world and we see this on social media certainly, Phil, all the time where people are angry and they’re insulting and they are hurling these invectives towards people. What they’re not doing is they’re not influencing. They’re not persuading. They’re more or less keeping themselves and keeping others on their same teams, if you will, where the truth is necessarily the objective as much as just feeling good about being on a certain side and holding a certain opinion, right?
Phil Jones: Right.
Bob Burg: You know, we’ve all seen where someone says something on Facebook and someone writes back, they comment, I can’t believe you said … People like you are the worst people on earth and you’re trying to ruin the country and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Now does the person who’s being insulted like this, do they ever respond back by saying, thank you, I hadn’t thought of it that way before? I thought I was right, but now that you say it that way, I am going to totally renounce my beliefs and agree with you. No, of course not. It just keeps people more and more … So we thought how can we now reshape these conversations which doesn’t mean people have to agree with each other, but it means we can dialogue with each other with a lot more understanding, a lot more kindness and we can when the circumstances are right, influence and persuade people and move the world along another step.
Phil Jones: So it makes sense that the word that we talk about today is that word influence, right? That’s the word that we should probably talk about. So if I’m looking for a dictionary definition of the word influence from Bob Burg himself, what does influence mean?
Bob Burg: Well on a very, very basic level, influence is simply the ability to move a person or persons to a desired action usually within the context of a specific goal. That’s the definition, Phil. I don’t believe that’s necessarily the essence or the substance of influence. I believe the essence of influence is about pull. Pull as opposed to push. As in how far can you push a rope. And the answer’s not very far, at least not very fast or very effectively which is why great influencers don’t push. You very rarely hear someone say, why that Dave or that Mary, she is so influential. She has a lot of push with people.
Phil Jones: Right, right.
Bob Burg: She is pushy, man, we just love … No, she’s influential, she has a lot of pull, because that’s what influence is. Influence is an attraction. Great influencers attract people, first to themselves, and only then to their ideas.
Phil Jones: Okay.
Bob Burg: And they do this, again, not through pushing their will, not through compliance, which is unsustainable at best. Not through bullying or manipulation, they do this through tapping into what that other person is looking to accomplish and then aligning the two together.
Phil Jones: Got you. I think I’ve got you anyway. So we’re thinking about influence. Why is it though people don’t talk about the fact they were influenced? Like people don’t say I was influenced into doing something. That’s a very rare thing for somebody to say. So we might want to influence or be an influencer, but why do we not like to be on the receiving end of influence?
Bob Burg: Well, first it might be an ego thing. People want to feel it was their decision. We know the saying that when we say it, that it’s one thing, when someone else says it, they believe it. And I think when we really do influence effectively, all we’re really doing is tapping into what that person wants anyway. When you think about it, what is selling? And you’re a sales expert. I mean, there’s nobody better. And we both know, Phil, that selling is nothing more than discovering what the other person wants, desires and helping them to get it. So we’re just really helping them to make a decision that they already want to make anyway.
Phil Jones: Okay, but isn’t influence like a real close line to manipulation and manipulation is bad?
Bob Burg: Manipulation is bad. Influence itself, which again, is the ability to move someone to … There are two aspects of influence. Influence itself is a principle. And as you know, universal laws and principles aren’t good or bad, they just are. You look at gravity. Gravity is a universal law. On Earth, it works.
Phil Jones: Yeah.
Bob Burg: We believe that it works. Doesn’t matter if you belong to some organization, people against the belief of gravity, P-A-P, whatever, it works. Now, we say is gravity good or bad, well it’s neither, it just is. It has good results when it keeps us from floating aimlessly up into space. It has what could be called bad results when we walk off a seven story building, okay. So it’s the same in terms of influence. You can influence one of two ways. You could do it through manipulation which is forced. It’s compliance, it’s fraud, it’s all the lousy, yucky thing … Or you could influence through persuasion, which is a way of helping to build everyone in the process. Now, both persuaders and … You could say, by the way manipulation and persuasion are cousins. Right? But one’s the good cousin, persuasion, one’s the evil cousin, manipulation. So that’s the thing. We neither want to be manipulated by others, nor should we want to manipulate others. It’s also manipulation sometimes can get you what you want in the short term-
Phil Jones: This is “Words With Friends”, we can have phone calls in our background. We’re all good.
Bob Burg: All right, sorry about that.
Phil Jones: This stuff happens in the real world.
Bob Burg: So we neither want to be manipulated nor do we want to manipulate someone else. A manipulator sometimes can get what they want. Right? In the short term. Very rarely is it sustainable. With a persuader, they can get what they desire both in the short term and in the long term. So not only is persuasion a much better way, a more righteous way to influence, it’s actually a much more effective way to influence.
Phil Jones: Okay, so in today’s world where there are lots of difference of opinions, lots of polarizing views. There’s people that are kind of, I don’t agree with that or they’re trying to force their opinions onto other people. How do we go about this in a more eloquent way that means that perhaps both parties win? What could people think do or act differently to be able to get more of their own way more often?
Bob Burg: Well the first thing we need to do is master our emotions. That’s really where it all begins. Because it’s only when we are in control of our own emotions, that we’re even able to be part of the solution, that we’re even in the position to take a potentially negative person or situation and turn it into a win for everyone involved. On the other hand, when we allow someone based on what they say or do, whether consciously or unconsciously to push our emotional buttons in a way that we cause ourself to be sad or defensive or helpless or frustrated or angry, not only are we not part of the solution, we’re just as much a part of the problem if not more so than they are. So we know this, and yet how often do we allow this to happen? And if we were to ask, well why is that? I think the answer is because we’re human beings and we are emotional creatures.
We like to think we’re logical and we are to a certain extent, but we’re pretty emotion based. We make major decisions based on emotion and we back up those emotion based decisions with logic. We rationalize. If you take the word rationalize, it simply means we tell ourselves rational lies. We tell ourselves these to justify the fact that we did something that we knew we probably shouldn’t have done. I really wanted that ice cream sundae last night, emotionally and I could rationalize some reasons for it. Or that we let ourselves lose control and we’re counterproductive in our actions. We’re not saying that you should forego your emotions or deny your emotions. First, that wouldn’t be logical. We’re emotional creatures, plus there’s no need to. Emotions are a wonderful part of life. They bring us joy. They make life worthwhile. No, what we just simply need to do is make sure that we are the master of our emotions, rather than they being the master of us.
Or as my great friend Dondi Scumaci, the great leadership speaker often says, by all means, take your emotions along for the ride, but make sure you are driving the car. And that’s so key. As long as we’re in control of our emotions, that’s fantastic. So when someone says or does something, let’s go back to that online thing where someone says, you are a son of a gun for blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, the first thing before losing control and wanting to … Take a moment.
Phil Jones: Okay.
Bob Burg: You know.
Phil Jones: It could be that simple as just take a breath.
Bob Burg: Yeah, and here’s the thing. You got to practice this stuff and because it’s too easy to fly off the handle and especially in person when someone verbally attacks you or someone just says something that annoys you, or it’s that’s person who says and does that same that always … So practice like an astronaut would practice before going into space. They do hundreds and hundreds of simulations so that by the time they get up there in space, if something God forbid happens, it’s okay. They’ve been there, they’ve done that, they know how to handle it. Now you might say, well but being up in space isn’t the same as simulations or practicing, responding calmly instead of reacting out of control isn’t the same as doing it. Not the same, but we both know it’s pretty darn close.
The subconscious mind cannot distinguish between that which has happened and that which has been suggested to it over and over again. So to the degree you practice this, you’ll find in no time, suddenly you’re 95% of the way there of just being able to be in control and respond and feel great about it and be so much more effective.
Phil Jones: Okay. So take a breath and I can practice taking a breath if there’s something I disagree with or something I want to be able to change the direction of the conversation. I’ve taken a breath, but then what do I do, or think, or act next if I’m looking to be more influential?
Bob Burg: Now we’ve got to try to step into the other person’s shoes. Now this sounds easier said than it is done. Why? Because most of us have different size feet.
Phil Jones: Right.
Bob Burg: We can’t step into their shoes. In other words, we come from different belief systems, Phil. Different ways of looking at the world. Of seeing the same thing.
Phil Jones: Got you.
Bob Burg: It’s just like in a sales situation. Until we begin to ask questions, we can’t step into their shoes. So we ask questions of this person, polite questions, tactful, which we’ll get to later, the tact and empathy. But, we ask questions and then we listen, but as one of the mentors, George, tells Jillian, listen not just with your ears-
Phil Jones: But up here with your neck. Listen with your neck.
Bob Burg: Really, like Sheryl Sanderson would say, lean into it. Listen with the back of your neck and what that does, it’s a whole different way of listening. You’re not listening to critique, you’re not listening to judge, you’re listening to simply understand this person’s shoe size. Just understand where they’re coming from. And not only does that help you, they understand that and they feel better about you. Okay, so we listen with the back of our neck. Now, that gets us part of the way there, but now’s the very important part. This is where we want to set the frame. Phil, this is so important because as you know, you teach this. When you set the proper frame, you’re really 80 to 90% there to being able to influence.
What is a frame? Let’s talk about words. What is a frame? A frame is the foundation from which everything else transpires. May I give you an example of a great frame that I-
Phil Jones: Go for it. Go for it. I’m listening with my neck, so carry on.
Bob Burg: So this is a couple of years ago. I’m in a Dunkin’ Donuts and I’m having my coffee and reading and there’s a little boy, a little toddler two, two and a half years old. He’s running around the restaurant and his parents call him over to their table. Well, he starts to run over and suddenly he takes a spill. He falls on the floor. He didn’t get hurt, he was fine, but you could tell he was shocked. That wasn’t supposed to happen. So what does he do? Well, he immediately looks at the two people in the world he trusts the most, his mom and dad to get their interpretation of what just happened. What happened, happened. He wants to know what happens next, mom and dad. And I truly believe, that had they gotten upset, panicked or rushed over, oh no are you okay, he’d have started crying. But they just handled it beautifully. They walked over calmly. They had smiles on their face, they applauded, they laughed. Oh, what a good trip, that looks like so much fun and he immediately started laughing. What the parents did, is they set a productive frame from which he could operate.
Phil Jones: Got it.
Bob Burg: And we can do the same thing in any conversation with someone. It might be, Phil, as simple as an inside out from the heart smile. It might be the way make eye contact with them or the way, if we’re in a conversation, we open our body language so they know that they’re welcome. It could be when we are about to present for a prospect, and we set a real frame where she feels comfortable by saying something like, you know Mary, while we’ve been able to help many people with this widget product or service, whether or not it’s the right answer for you, we simply can’t know without exploring deeper and determining whether it’s the right fit. Whether it meets your needs. So please know our conversation is about both of us discovering this, and if it does, great, if not that’s okay too.
So what we’ve done is we’ve set the frame that she doesn’t have to be concerned about being pressured into buying. That we’re not there to, at all costs for her … And she has the out, the back door, she knows it’s about her and that it’s her choice. So now, she feels so much better about this. Now, that’s a frame and that sets it up. The question is, what if someone comes to the table with an already set frame which is negative, like the person on the internet who comes back with a horrible sentence. Now we have to reset the frame. And to do this, we simply regear.
Let me give you another very quick example. Pulling my car into a parking lot, into a parking space, I wasn’t paying attention as I should have been. I nearly clip a guy as he’s getting out of the driver’s side of his car. He was scared, he was shocked. Mostly he was very angry and he gave me a look, Phil. I mean, if looks could kill. His face was covered with ugly. It was a horrible … Now, it’s a frame he set. I’m not blaming him. People react to different stimuli in different ways. That was a reaction, not a response. And he came at it with an anger frame. Now had I bought into that frame which he set, I might have gone, what are you looking at? And he’d have gone, watch where you’re going. Really watch where you’re going. I don’t know about you, but I’ve found those things never work out really well.
Phil Jones: Never worked out too good for me either.
Bob Burg: I don’t want any part of it. So what I did instead is, I immediately put my hand up in a waving motion, I put a smile of friendly apology in my face and through the windshield I went, sorry. And he immediately went, no problem. What I did, is rather than buying into his frame, I simply reset the frame. Now we’re allies instead of adversaries. We can do that too with this person on the … In fact, let’s give an example of that right now before we go into the other-
Phil Jones: Yeah, let’s do it.
Bob Burg: Okay, so somebody makes a statement about something and this person says, you are the worst human being in the world. You’re looking to hurt people. All you care about blah, blah, blah. Whatever it happens to be. So now what we do, we’ve controlled our emotions, we’re not going to say, well it’s you and you, right . . . . We’re going to look into why they may be thinking they are. We are going to now reset the frame. What if we said something like, hi Tom, I’ve got to say I admire your passion for your beliefs and I can tell you’re someone who really cares about people. Now here’s the key phrase. Like you, I want to live in a country where people are able to, then whatever the point is, blah, blah, blah, blah. I think the biggest difference is simply in the way we feel is best to go about it. Now you’ve totally reframed this from … And if this person …
Now remember you never know how this person … But chances are and I’ve had people apologize, by the way, for things that I’ve had. Other people I’ve taught this to have had people apologize for the way they said something. But that’s not usually going to happen and it doesn’t have to. And it’s not that you’re going to persuade necessarily this person, who may be so far to one belief system that that’s it and certain people are. But here’s what we’ve got to remember, in every one of these transactions, especially online, okay, not only are you and that person in the conversation, there are lots-
Phil Jones: Every one of us.
Bob Burg: … and lots and lots of people who are watching this. Here’s the thing. There are some people, and let’s just for a second put this in the political vernacular. Some people are way on the left and some people are way on the right and they’re never going to change. But most people feel-
Phil Jones: They’re in the middle.
Bob Burg: Exactly. They’re in the middle or maybe one side or the other, but they’re still open. They realize that they’re not so wrapped up in one … So here’s what they’re looking for. They’re looking to who’s the person who’s making the most cogent points, but also, that’s the logic, and this is important, who is more likable. Tell me something, someone who I feel much more attracted to wanting to be in conversation with. Who do I feel I could ask informational questions to, without them dogmatically attacking me if I don’t agree exactly. Right?
Phil Jones: Right.
Bob Burg: This is where we can really do this. So we understand it’s not just ourselves, it’s not just the other person, there’s a lot of people in these conversations.
Phil Jones: Okay. And another point I’m picking up on there is maybe sometimes you’re better to let it go. Like if somebody is at an extreme end of one of these things, that the chances of actually being able to have a great of influence on those might be left for another day. We need to make a decision to say, is there a chance in a frame where what we can do is agree upon some form of common goal, some form of common direction, some form of we’re all on the same page. And if we can get that, we can create movement forward.
Bob Burg: Exactly. That’s the point. You can create movement forward because it may not happen today, but there’s an opening for another day. Exactly.
Phil Jones: Now I just want to take a little segue in direction. All of your books have come in the format of a story. It’s kind of an unfamiliar route towards many a personal development book. Yet it’s a tried and true system of being able to transfer information. We learn from kids in story form, often in some of the quickest ways we’ve ever learned. What was it that made you decide to be able to make really a quite profound point towards the area and influence in the new book, but again to decide to do it in story form using a very precise seven day window of time into some fictional characters’ lives.
Bob Burg: Well, this went back to the original Go-Giver story, which was based on the premise from Endless Referrals, which was actually my first big book for sales people and it was a how-to book. And we took the basic premise, all things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to those people they know, like and trust and we put it into story form. John David Mann, the co-author and lead writer and storyteller who … And you know John he’s just a brilliant, brilliant guy and so we know that stories, as you were saying, they connect on a heart level. Well, I had a book out several years ago that I wrote, another how-to book, it was called, Adversaries into Allies.
Phil Jones: Right.
Bob Burg: And it was a how-to of doing all the things in this book. It didn’t really sell that well and I’ve never quite understood why it didn’t, but it didn’t. So John and I both thought because we feel so strongly about the topic and about influence and about being able to go about it in the right way. We said, wonder if we could take the how-to parts from Adversaries into Allies, but put into story form so it would more connect on a real heart level with people. That’s really why we did it.
Phil Jones: Well, it works. I loved it. I couldn’t put the thing down and one of the things that I loved most about the book, is I’ve been a rich student of Dale Carnegie’s work through my early years as well, and the greatest book in the world to me is How to Win Friends and Influence People, but it’s a slug of a read. You’ve got to study it, you’ve got to … What did that word say again? What did that paragraph really mean? It’s hard. It comes from a time that isn’t modern. But I pick up the Go-Giver Influencer and I read through it and it’s laced with core principles that would take me so much time to extract from a book like How to Win Friends and Influence People and get through it in a very concise and beautiful way, still hits home all of those major points, but makes them relevant for today. I think it’s a masterpiece in subtleties and nuances towards the modern influence. And it’s-
Bob Burg: By the way, one of the streets in the story was Dale Drive. That was an homage to Mr. Carnegie himself.
Phil Jones: That was fantastic. His work has touched so many people’s lives. And I just wondered how consciously did you go about being able to weave through so many profound things into really what is quite a short story?
Bob Burg: I think that’s the work, that’s the hard work on deciding especially with something like this, because Adversaries into Allies had a whole lot of stuff in it. So what do you really take so that you can make the point that’s necessary but obviously it’s not a how-to book, it’s a story with some how-to aspects and elements. And this is where I think the brilliance of John David Mann really comes in, not only does he just weave such a wonderful tale, but knowing what to have in, but what can come out. You know what I’m saying? We’re a good team, but we’re a good team because he’s so brilliant.
Phil Jones: And I think some of the genius in the book though too is how it’s a product of itself. In the way in which the story is being laid out, it is a demonstration of the points that you’re looking to better make. And it talks towards the power of hypotheses. It talks towards if we can create hypothetical sets of circumstances, we can move towards or accept those other points of view more freely. And I know I’m picking the book up and relating to scenarios, objection circumstances and where he’s feeling and thinking at that moment in time, but then seeing the thoughts and feelings of other characters in the book, I’m thinking how they relate to so many other real life scenarios.
Go ahead, go ahead.
Bob Burg: No I was just going to say, what you said was so perfect because if you think about it, Jackson and Jillian each had exactly what the other needed.
Phil Jones: Right.
Bob Burg: So you’d have thought this is a marriage made in heaven.
Phil Jones: You got it.
Bob Burg: Turned out to be anything but. And every conversation they had, they came away more frustrated.
Phil Jones: And the sad thing is … This is so true. I’m with a buddy of mine the other day out in the south, he’s a really good friend of mine and lives in Kentucky. The way they see things in Kentucky about gun crime or carrying weapons is different to how I see it as a guy coming from the UK. And we can have a heated debate about it because we’re two people on the level, under the understanding of saying, our common interest is, we like to feel safe when we go out of the house. It’s a common interest and we can have a difference of opinion around that and then start to influence.
But I think the fear that lots of people have about influence is this feeling of right and wrong. This black and white scenario, whereas what I think I’m learning here is, is it’s the movement in the shades of gray that exist in between, that says we can nudge over time. It isn’t someone’s going to change their mind from being a fan of one football team to another football team overnight because of something somebody said, it can change gradually over a period of time with a drip and drip and a drip providing you can open people’s minds.
Bob Burg: Yeah, moving the world forward. That’s really what it is. And it’s interesting too, because it’s not about compromise, it’s about collaboration. And you know we talk about words. We use the fake definition, by the way in the book which was a good laugh-
Phil Jones: Yeah, it was great.
Bob Burg: You’re right. So Jillian she said, isn’t compromise what’s all … He said, well actually, compromise comes from an old Greek word for nobody actually gets what they want. It of course doesn’t really mean that, but it might as well because compromise … By the way, of course, there’s a time and place for compromise, but what we say is that shouldn’t be your first option. Compromise by the very nature of the thing is about lose-lose. It’s about both parties giving up something in order to maybe placate or appease or just keep the peace, but it’s not really what both people want. Instead of compromise, let’s try to collaborate and build a bigger pie. This is where one plus one equals three.
Phil Jones: Wow.
Bob Burg: You know, so that’s where we want to go to first. But as you said, and I love the point you made because this is so true. It’s not as though influence is some magical, mystical thing, but … No, it just advances the world, it moves it. Hey, any invention that’s ever come to us has had to be sold, because people are by nature skeptical. That’s the reptilian mind. They don’t want to take a chance with something new. So any new thing, whether it was the steam invention, the train, or whether it was this or whether it was that or whether … Someone had to influence others. It usually didn’t happen right away.
Seth Godin tells a great story in his book, Purple Cow about the invention of this machine that would slice bread. It was invented by someone by the last name of Rohwedder and he invented this machine and it did nothing for thirty years. Now you think about it, we have a saying today, this is the greatest thing since sliced bread. And it took thirty years for this machine to actually catch on and it was only when this company, by the name of Wonder Bread, starting using it to slice their prepackaged bread that the world caught on to what would become the greatest thing since whatever.
Phil Jones: Yeah, so influence can take time. It can take a series of drips.
Bob Burg: Sometimes it can be like that and other times it can take time. It just depends on the situation. But there need be no fear when someone influences the right way. Now, we’ve also seen many people throughout history influence through manipulation, just force, control, compliance and that’s not a good thing. Whether it’s in a corporation or whether it’s in a government.
Phil Jones: Now there’s a thing though about terms like influence is that they are for certain groups of people. So it’s for a leader, it’s for a sales person, it’s for a politician. It’s for people that have this divine responsibility to lead other people towards making a decision or action or an outcome. That is often where the thought toward influence lives. But who else are the other user groups that could benefit from having a little bit more skill or foresight or understanding into how they can influence others in an ethical fashion?
Bob Burg: Well I think that everyone does influence. It might be the preschooler who wants someone else to share their toy. They’re trying to influence. Now again, if they do it by grabbing that toy well that’s not the right way.
Phil Jones: Should the preschooler read the book?
Bob Burg: I don’t think they’re going to be ready quite at that age to do it, but I think the parents will be able to take the lessons from it. We have a lot of families who use The Go-Giver as a family study type of thing and they have their kids reading it and so forth. But I don’t think it’s necessary to have the kids read it, but I think the parents will be able to take basic principles from this and be able to teach it to very young …
Phil Jones: And Jackson and Jillian have this very transactional piece that runs through the seven day period of time. It’s about the signing of the contract, the agreement of the business and the negotiation et cetera. It’s a business setting. Why is it that we’re in a business setting but we’re saying that these principles of influence can be used everywhere in life?
Bob Burg: The Go-Giver series is by and large, a business series, but we always try to have a sub plot in there. Because we truly believe that universal laws work across the board. And success is not a matter of simply financial although that’s important, but there’s success in terms of financial, physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, social, relational, probably a dozen other ways. And so that’s why in the Go-Giver there was also the sub plot about Joe and Sue and their marriage. We try to do that, because it is a business book and Portfolio is a business publisher, but we like to get the personal in there too.
Phil Jones: Love it, love it. And I think this whole thread that runs through about-
Bob Burg: You ask the best questions. That’s great. Nobody asks-
Phil Jones: This is why I ignore the brief that anybody ever sends me on questions. I want to come at you on this point on emotion as well. Like, that people make decisions based on emotion and there’s talk towards emotion in the book. And it’s great to talk about the power of influence when we’re plugging into using emotions to be able to drive decisions, but what about when we mess it up? We try to lead somebody towards something, we’ve tried to get involved in a conversation to do the right thing for what we believed in, we’ve tried to change somebody’s point of view and it’s ended worse than it started. What do we do now?
Bob Burg: Okay, this is what we would call, not a good thing.
Phil Jones: It’s not a good thing.
Bob Burg: We don’t like that to happen.
Phil Jones: But it happens I think people are fearful of that, so they don’t move into it because they’re fearful of what might happen.
Bob Burg: Well that’s why I think the more we can equip ourselves with the information, not just from this book, but from any book. From How to Win Friends and Influence People, from your book, from we all. We can never stop learning. And then we also have to know we’re human beings and we’re never going to always get it right. When we do mess up, which we will, which we all do because we’re human beings, we can feel a little badly about it, but only enough so that we know we want to correct ourselves the next time. We don’t have to go any kind of really bad guilt trip. We’ll have other chances. But when it’s appropriate to apologize to someone, we apologize. When we’re not able to do that, or for whatever reason the circumstances, aren’t able, then we just use that experience for the next time.
Phil Jones: But a humble apology is no bad thing?
Bob Burg: A humble apology is a wonderful thing, but we just also have to know how to apologize correctly. We take responsibility for it, we don’t make an excuse for it and we let someone know that we will do better the next time and then the next when the opportunity presents itself, we hopefully do better.
Phil Jones: So it’s a hands up, it’s no buts, it’s no yeah it was because of, it’s my bad. However you want to say my bad, it is taking full personal responsibility for it. Now, I’ve been scribbling notes down as we’ve been going through here. I’ve just got one more point that I want to get towards with you, is this genuinely seeing something from somebody else’s point of view. This being in other people’s shoes, it’s being aware of the fact that they’re not the same size. That sounds great, but how do you do that in practice? We get all these versions of right, we talk about what’s happening online, it’s easy to be able to side with the majority, it’s easy to get caught with the current, it’s easy to be able to not have enough information to make your decision and find ourselves being one side or the other. How do we actually go about doing that? Because principle is great, reality is somewhere altogether different.
Bob Burg: Let’s use a very simple example. I call this the question you can ask in order to avoid any misunderstandings. And of course, it’s not just one question, because it’s never within a vacuum. But let’s say you’re part of a team, it’s a four person team within a company who’s doing a project. The project manager, the team leader says, there’s been a change everyone has to have their work in as soon as possible, okay, boom. Now, it’s Wednesday afternoon close of day, so it’s a couple of days later, the team leader calls everyone around and says okay, where’s your work? Well, only one person has it in. Why? I said as soon as possible. Well, to one person as soon as possible means you drop everything you’re doing and you get it in right away. To another person, they come from another team where as soon as possible meant as soon as you finish your current work, then you go and do this. The other person comes from another company and was on a team where as soon as possible meant absolutely nothing.
So you’ve got four different people, you’ve got different definitions of what as soon as possible means. Now, what if one of the people on the team said to the team leader Sue or Dave, if I may ask, just for my own clarification, that’s part of saying something tactfully, just for my own clarification. When you say as soon as possible is there a specific day or time you’re thinking? Boom. Now the team leader will say, yes, it needs to be in end of day, 5:00 Wednesday. So what we want to do is never assume that we know what someone else means or that they know what we mean, because we don’t and they don’t. So we just simply in a very kind, tactful way, we ask people to clarify or to define their terms.
Phil Jones: So it’s those two big things then, right? Take a big breath, pause for a second and then ask a clarifying question so that you can find out that you’re on the same page.
Bob Burg: Exactly, exactly.
Phil Jones: That simple.
Bob Burg: By the way, the team leader, had they been an effective communicator, would have been the one to say, there’s been a change we need this in as soon as possible, and by that just to make sure we’re all on the same page, we need everyone’s work by end of day, 5:00 Wednesday. Why didn’t he do that? I don’t know. Why do people not communicate when they should?
Phil Jones: So we shouldn’t communicate then if we want to be influential in some way in things that aren’t clear. So banning phrases like ASAP from our vocabulary in it’s entirety would probably be a very reasonable idea. Okay, okay. This is awesome. Bob, I love your work.
Bob Burg: Likewise.
Phil Jones: I don’t want to give away everything in the book while were here into the interview, but I really think that this is a piece of work like much of your others, is a for everybody. And I know that’s a hard thing to be able to point at is a book for everybody. But I think you’ve nailed it in this one. It’s got that beauty in the fact that it’s timeless. I really believe that in our lifetime that this stuff won’t go out of fashion. I’m a big believer that questions lead to conversations, conversations build relationships, relationships create opportunities and those opportunities lead to action, sales, decisions, outcomes, whatever.
Bob Burg: No one teaches that better than you do.
Phil Jones: But this is a book that tells a great story. It is one big conversation. Conversations in people’s heads, conversations in people’s minds, conversations between people and to be a fly on the wall on all of those conversations which I think that this book really is, is a master class in influence in something that takes really no more than two hours to read. It’s like 176 pages, 35, 40 of those are pages telling you what you’ve just learned and giving you some more information. If you fly somewhere you could read it on a flight just about anywhere. If you’re on a train, you could probably pick it up at almost every journey. If you’re going on vacation, you’d capture in one sun tanning session. It’s something that I would highly encourage people to pick up and I invited you on the show today, because I really wanted to kick this off with an important term. I’m a big believer same as you are, as if we can seek to understand more about other people’s points of view, but what we can do is have a better knowledge of the foundation place of where other people’s beliefs are coming from. We’ve got the ability to change the world one conversation, one word, one little piece of influence at a time.
So, Bob, thanks for coming on board to talk about influence. We finish Words With Friends with one standard question, which is, what is your favorite word? I just want to know what your favorite word is. A word that, it might be your favorite this second, it might be your favorite forever, but a word that you just love and why.
Bob Burg: Oh my goodness. What a great question. What is my favorite word? Well I think about how with my family, we always say I love you and then the other one say I love you more. I’m going to have to go with love in this one.
Phil Jones: There we go. We’re kicking off with all you need is love, right? A little John Lennon classic. Bob, where do people get the book? When can they get the book, how do they get involved and find out more about you?
Bob Burg: They can go to thegogiver.com without the hyphen, thegogiver.com and they can click on the graphic of the book. It’s got the purple cover and it will take them to a page where they can get the first two chapters and read those if they’d like to see if they like where it’s headed. Then they can always click through to Amazon or wherever else they’d like.
Phil Jones: That’s it. And I think it’s April this year, April 2018 it starts to be shipped out and packed on. So I’ve had the privilege of getting start to finish on it and from my word to everybody listening in right now, just do yourself a massive favor. Buy it, read it, share it and then most importantly put it into practice.
Bob, thanks for being on the show. It’s been a treat as always.
Bob Burg: Phil, thank you. The pleasure’s absolutely mine.