I've been telling everyone I work with to stop acting like other people are doing you favors, and instead just be completely virtuous and then note that you're doing a favor for them if you approach them to work together. This got a little pushback, with one team member saying, "Can we rephrase it as "Don't come across like you're asking for something from a position below them, talk to people as if you're on equal standing and in a mutually beneficial relationship with them"?" Here's my reply -
So, I played Dungeons and Dragons when I was 12 years old. Great game, lots of fun. You get to have storytelling and roll dice and it's really just neat.
But I remember one time, I was confused that there was a "treasure table" that was roughly the same for all characters. Meaning, good characters and evil characters got the same amount of gold/treasure/magic items/whatever.
That didn't make any sense to me. The heroes were famous and loved by society, the villains were evil and wretched and spent all their time chasing gold, so certainly the villains should at least wind up with more gold, right?
And my DM - Dungeon Master - said no, that's not the case. The evil person plots and schemes all the time, and gets gold that way. The good person just does right for everyone, and thus the grateful villager or king gives them gold and magic weapons and whatever.
That's pretty much it - evil people plot and scheme, good people just do good and get compensated.
Except! In real life, no one notices your contributions unless you tell them.
So instead of, "Hey guys, we just killed the dragon..." and then the mayor gives you a +12 sword... instead, in real life, you have to say, "Hey guys, we just killed the dragon. And you've got an unused +12 sword just sitting there since the ancient ruler retired. Can I take that with me?"
Good guys can do that. But the vibe is, "We're killing dragons, want to help?"
You, dragon-killer, are actually doing them a favor by offering to let them help you. I know that sounds strange, but it's really the right vibe.
"Let's plot and scheme together" scares people, risks connotating that you're evil, and otherwise puts people on-guard.
I'd cut out any mutually beneficial relationship vibe/bullshit, and just be like, "Hey, we're killing dragons. Dude, give me that sword." It doesn't work all the time, but it works more often. It's more satisfying, too.
I'd add that you really, really do have to take care of and protect everyone's interests - as mentioned in the "Rationalist Humanitarian Command" series of videos.
I was using D&D as a lens the other day too. I remember playing with an older DM who chastised all of us Gen-Yers for "bouncing off the walls until something happened like it was a Playstation game." It got to where all we had to do was break/blast through a brick wall to have an amazing adventure and instead we just gave up because there was no door. That was a low point.
The same mindset with which a player pushes and tests the dungeon is used in a contract negotiation or sales meeting or anything in business.
P.S. Why do people who played D&D write about +12 swords and other ridiculous stuff that wasn't in the game? You're not a Hollywood writer. You know that caps at +5 as a general rule, at least at the level where a mayor would have one. ;)
I came across your site a few days ago after a friend posted a link to your "What Skills Do You Need to be an Entrepreneur? Only Two" article. While I've read many different blogging sites about similar topics, there was something about your writing that has compelled me to stay on your site and read through dozens of your articles. In fact, of all the sites/blogs I have read, you are the first I have attempted to contact. You seem like a really interesting guy, and you have certainly inspired me.
Anyways, I read in one of your works that you aren't much a fan of small talk (nor am I), so I'll cut straight to my questions:
What are you thoughts on Ayn Rand? Have you read Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead? The reason I ask is because a lot of your writing seems to reflect some of the core points of her philosophy, at least on an individual perspective (as portrayed in The Fountainhead). I'm not sure how you feel about her philosophy for a society as a whole, as in Atlas Shrugged.
If you've never read her before, here is a good excerpt of her thoughts on money (to get an idea of what her books are like):http://www.capitalismmagazine.com/economics/money/1826-francisco-s-money-speech.html
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Brooklyn Museum - The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun (Rev. 12 1-4) - William Blake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)[/caption]
Sexual hunger; demonic violence; sinister logic - the lethal components of a deadly formula driving a psychopath in the grip of an unimaginable delusion; a boastful killer who sends the police tormenting notes; a tortured, torturing monster who finds maximum pleasure in viciously murdering happy families, and calls himself...The Red Dragon.
A set of grisly murders brings FBI Agent Will Graham out of retirement and puts him in search of an atrocious killer who's driven by the image of a painting. Yet his only means of survival and success are to seek the help of another madman, whom he captured, Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Marked by past scars and quickly running out of time, Graham finds himself tangled in a heap of madness, sacrificing his work, his family, and above all his own life, to put an end to pure evil.