In two recent experiences where long-time vendors disappointed me, I found the magic words needed to get the result I want while retaining a long-term relationship. The words are “You’re better than that.”
As I stated earlier, I’ve had good, long-standing relationships with both vendors. Both dropped the ball on some aspect of service. I was blunt in my criticism of both, but at the end of each tirade I said the magic words “You’re better than that.”
Why magic words?
In part, because they’d earned it. Both had served me well over the years and they deserved to hear that I was aware of how well they’d performed previously.
I’d use these magic words even if it was a relationship with little, if any, history. My rationale is that I’d based my decision to work with them on values, behaviors and characteristics I felt were aligned with mine.
That means that what I just experienced isn’t typical of the way they do business. Giving them the benefit of the doubt is not only fair, it encourages them to perform better in the future. We typically don’t want to disappoint people who believe in us. By expressing my belief that they are better than this one instance, I dramatically reduce the likelihood of a similar experience in the future.
“You’re better than that” implies that you know how good they are, how committed they are to doing a great job and this is an aberration, not their normal behavior. These magic words not only show my respect for them, it earns me their respect as well. It strengths the bond between us and lays the foundation for an enjoyable, mutually-beneficial relationship moving forward.
When faced with a situation in which you’re disappointed in someone’s performance, don’t forget to ask yourself “What’s my contribution to the problem?”
In these two instances, I realized that I could have been more clear in my communication. I acknowledged that fact as I was roiling about their performance. This too earns their respect and enables them to be more objective in the analysis of their performance.
I’m happy to report that both relationships continue in a very pleasant and mutually-beneficial way.
As you find yourself ready to launch into a tirade over unmet expectations:
- Ask “What’s my contribution to the problem?” Admitting yours does not exonerate them of theirs.
- State firmly and unequivocally your displeasure with their performance.
- Use the magic words “You’re better than that.”
You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can get the result you desire while retaining a valued relationship.
For our kids
When the kids in your life launch into a tirade, share this three-step approach to getting what they want…without risking a relationship. You’ll make their lives easier for decades to come.
I love hearing your thoughts and experiences, please share your wisdom as a comment.
If you’d like to enjoy great confidence, check out our Confidence Self-Study programs.
If you’d like to enrich the lives of others by teaching them to be more confident, check out our Teaching Confidence Instructor Certification program.