Do you remember the Chevy Nova? It was a relatively successful American car for many years. Encouraged by U.S. sales, Chevrolet began to market the American Nova throughout the world. Unfortunately, the Nova did not sell well in Mexico and other Latin American countries. Additional ads were ordered, marketing efforts were stepped up, but sales remained stagnant. The car sold well in the American market; why wasn’t it selling now? When they discovered the answer, it was rather embarrassing: In Spanish, Nova means “no go.” The business world is full of such stories.
How many times have you assumed you were being perfectly clear only to find out that your message or actions meant something completely different to another person? Often even our “good intentions” backfire. In our lives with others, it is more important to know who they are than believe that we are an expert on what they need. The latter may work with very small children, but it is not long before we realize even in our families that we are very different individuals with different needs.
So how do we do that?
Perhaps we can start by asking some simple questions before we say or do anything for another person.
- How well do I know this person?
- Am I listening to understand or simply to give an answer?
- Is my goal to help this person grow or to make them better?
- What is the end result I am looking for? Is it right for them?
I know there are undoubtedly more questions and probably even better ones, but these may jumpstart your process. Our goal is to help each other to grow and to excel. How we get there may be different than we ever imagined.