Asking the Unreasonable Requests

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"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George Bernard Shaw, Maxims for Revolutionists

It is probably the number two task of leadership -- asking. You ask people to do things, and when they do -- well, stuff happens. But what really extends your ability to make big things happen is asking for things that are "unreasonable." What is unreasonable? Asking people for things you have no right to expect from them, which under ordinary circumstances, you would expect them to say, "no." But asking anyway.

The trick is to expect them to say yes, and not worry about whether they do or they don't.

Create a game in your business. The game is for everyone to continually be unreasonable in what they ask of each other. And not just internally -- externally as well. Include all your stakeholders in this game. (You choose whether or not to tell them about it the game.) Do you think this game could rocket your project forward?

If making requests is not a normal activity for most people in businesses, unreasonable requests are doubly abnormal. Most of us don t want to risk rejection -- so we ask for small things, easy things, wimpy things, and make it easy for people to say yes.

Keeping your requests small is a good strategy if you are no-o-phobic, but it limits your results.

The action in your business is moved forward in direct proportion to the size of your requests, so to move things along quickly, you have to ask big.

Think of what changes would make your requests unreasonable. Whatever you were going to ask for, ask for more. Whenever you wanted it, ask for it sooner. Whatever you were willing to pay or trade, ask for it for less, or free. You get the idea.

Make your requests larger. Bigger. Faster. Cheaper. Outrageouser.

Make them unreasonable.

Business acceleration expert and growth strategist Paul Lemberg is the CEO of Axcelus: Advanced Business Acceleration for Entrepreneurs. Axcelus helps fast-growing entrepreneurial companies scientifically engineer the greatest business value possible, in the shortest amount of time.

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