Saturday Morning Rounds October 24th, 2020 - How to focus on the one important thing

Posted by BossB, MD on October 24, 2020
BossB, MD

Saturday Morning Rounds

A weekly round-up of career & negotiation content for women physicians

What got our attention

How to Focus on The One Important Thing

It's not often that we highlight general business content - something not related explicitly to women or medicine - so when we do so, there's a high bar for the quality that content must deliver.

And "deliver" this podcast certainly does.

The link above is an episode of the Tim Ferriss podcast in which Tim Keller (that's two Tims so far), the founder of Keller-Williams real estate, tells his story. It's an incredibly informative, useful interview that Carlton assigns to his "Intro to Business" students each year, and we couldn't recommend highly enough that you listen to it as well, regardless of whether you ever want to get into any kind of "business" (other than what you're already doing).

The core question the interview addresses is one that Keller asks himself every day, and credits for his success:

“What’s the one thing I could do, such that by doing it, everything else will be either easier or unnecessary?”

Now, this might seem like a simple productivity hack at first glance, but posing this question in its exact phrasing can provide some really amazing results across domains. 

Keller shares examples of his "one thing" for many different areas of his life:

  • Business - Asks this daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and distributes efforts accordingly
  • With his wife - Kiss her as soon as he walks in the door
  • With his mom - Buy her a basketball subscription on TV and play dominoes with her so that he can avoid the usual negative, gossip-filled conversations she tends to steer toward if left to her own devices
  • With his dog - Get on the floor with her and play for a few minutes early in the day

In the world of strategy, we call something that "makes everything after it easier or unnecessary" a force multiplier. We'll talk in our "tip of the week" about how you can use this in your own business conversations, especially negotiations.

Who we're following

In the spirit of our highlighted content this week, we'll ask ourselves:

"Who’s the one account I could follow on Twitter, such that by doing so, everything else on Twitter will be either easier or unnecessary?”

Now first off, we'd actually love to hear your thoughts on how you'd answer this question, because there's bound to be a variety of answers and we definitely don't wanna be missing out on the kinds of superlative Tweeps that would come up!

For us, the answer is clearly Dr. Kimberly Manning, MD (@gradydoctor). We've highlighted her in this newsletter before, and it's quite probable that you follow her already, but we love her Twitter profile because it's the perfect mix of (a) uplifting, meaningful, beautifully-presented medical content/stories, and (b) what's going on in the #MedTwitter world, as she seems to be a speaker or attendee at pretty much every good conference or event that happens.

This means that every time we visit her profile, we get our dose of feel-good brain chemicals, some tips that can make us better physicians and humans, and an update about what we should be paying attention to on #MedTwitter, all in one place.

BBMD tip of the week

Now we'll turn this question to business conversations and negotiations:

"What’s the one thing I could do in a business conversation or negotiation, such that by doing it, everything else will be either easier or unnecessary?” 

And the answer again becomes immediately crystal clear - CONNECT.

We've given this many names over the years. Emotional resonance. Humanizing yourself and your counterpart. Being "other-centered." Assuming best intent. Building rapport. Those are all really just different shades of the same primary color - connection.

Why is this so important?

Because much to economists' chagrin, humans are not rational, self-interested decision-makers. We are emotional decision-makers first, foremost, and always, and we generally use reason to reverse-engineer justifications for our decisions.

Things like the scientific method have attempted to counteract this tendency, but the fact remains that emotion is default decision-making input for almost all humans, and sadly, not many people apply the scientific method to their business conversations and decisions.

If you can use this fact to your advantage, you'll have an upper-hand in every business interaction you ever walk into. Why? Because we do nice things for people we connect with. We're more agreeable and generous toward people we connect with. We make more concessions and give more ground to people we connect with. The list goes on, but the fact of the matter is that there's unlimited upside to increasing a sense of connection with your counterpart, and almost no downside. 

So we get that it's important, but why can it be so hard to do so in a negotiation? Because the natural inclination is to get focused on the thing you're talking about rather than the person you're talking with.

We tend to focus on the salary in the negotiation or the "required qualifications" in the interview or the price of the car at the dealership, rather than the person sitting in front of us. But the way to INFLUENCE the salary, the interview outcome, and the car price is almost always through the person sitting in front of you. 

So, build rapport. Maximize emotional resonance. Assume best intent. Be "other-centered." Humanize. Listen (really, pay someone to teach you to listen better, even if it's not us - improv comedy/theater, coaching training, etc are some great places to start).


The rest will almost certainly take care of itself

Quote we're contemplating

 "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care" - Theodore Roosevelt

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PPS - As always, please let us know your requests and suggestions by replying to this email (we read 'em all) or getting at us via Twitter. Which section above is your favorite? What do you want more or less of? Just send a tweet to @BossB_MD and put #SaturdayMorningRounds in there so we can find it.

Have a wonderful weekend, y'all!