|Google Images: Two-options, fiverr.com|
Choice, leadership, and the workplace
Now take that giving of options and move it into a more practical application. How often do you open choice opportunities for people?
There is a connection between a feeling of control over one's environment and job satisfaction. When employees have choices they can change methods and have the opportunity to make the decisions that change outcomes. Whether the choice is a good one or a not so good one, the individual learns the cause and effect associated with it. Then they can either make the same good decision again, or learn to take another approach next time.
Some leaders don't provide the opportunity for choice very often because they don't trust the judgment of the individuals receiving the directions. Sometimes the lack of trust is with cause, due to some negative history with a certain person or certain situation. Sometimes the stakes are so high for a specific action that the leader believes that he or she can not afford to risk a bad choice.
Lack of trust, however, can be mitigated by providing training beforehand. When an individual has the opportunity to analyze the same set of options in simulations or lower-risk situations they can demonstrate the quality of their judgment. The leader can then provide a broader span of decision making to that individual, confident in their ability to choose wisely.
Choice and your buyers
Employees know when they're being railroaded, and so do your clients and prospects. You might have enough experience to know that a certain model works best for this prospect's situation. But your definition of "best" might be different than that of your prospect. Some of their decision criteria might be unknown to you, either because you didn't ask or because they decided not to disclose in order to maintain the upper hand.
Unless they ask for a recommendation from you based upon your known expertise or their prior positive history with you, the buyer wants to be the chooser. So give them choices, even from the outset of the relationship. "Would Tuesday afternoon or Thursday morning work better for you?" in a phone script gives your prospect a choice. Notice, though, that both choices are "Yes" answers to the unspoken question of "Can we meet?" It's an assumptive approach on one hand, and a choice on the other.
In your recommendations, your prospects might be looking for options. Do they want full service with an investment that includes everything including a full relationship discount? Or would they rather manage their risk by buying a la carte?
You have choices too. You can choose to ignore this information, or you can choose to look for opportunities to test it and observe the outcomes. Unlike the "invisible or fly" choice, this choice is real. And it could have a tremendous impact on your results.