“What’s in it for Us?”

Day 290 Week 42 Q4 Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Time for some straight talk. When considering a potential action, most people, most of the time, ask the same question: “What’s in it for Me?”  This can be especially problematic for intelligent, creative people capable of inventing their world and then living in it because it takes a village or, in the case of innovation, it takes stakeholders.

Here is the problem.  No one can get wonderful insights or breakthroughs adopted without help. There are always stakeholders. They could be customers, clients, colleagues, investors, mentors, subordinates, or just friends. In every case, they need some sort of justification to participate. It is not a bad idea to get into the habit of asking the question, “What’s in it for Us?” This is not only advice for creative outliers but is not a bad question for everyone to ask. It would help in government, management, education, research, business, and collaborative creative processes.

If you are only asking: “What’s in it for Me?” STOP and instead ask, “What’s in it for Us?” you will have more success and a better life.  

For example – say during the course of a project, you hire several people. If you take the time to find out who they are, not just what they can do, then you will have a better chance of giving them what they need. Transaction-based relationships have a shorter half-life than those based on mutual understanding. Later on, when a crisis occurs requiring extra and inconvenient effort, the people you more meaningfully connect with by making sure they also get what they need will be far more likely to help you out.

Oh, and by the way – think longer term, not shorter term, because “What’s in it for Anyone?” takes time. It is rarely instantaneous, and neither are relationships.

You want your relationships to be repurposable, not just convenient. 

Ask,  “What’s in it for Us?”