Triangulation #3

Triangulation can be used with people that you SHOULD be having a complementary and collaborative relationship, but instead find yourself in an adversarial one. Or perhaps you want to avoid that eventuality.

First, you need to find the “third point” of the triangle, that you know that the other will see as a threat. This is fairly easy to do. Usually you can use adherence to a budget, a time constraint, a requisite level of quality, or an onerous regulatory burden as the third-point adversary.

By articulating how much of a threat it is, you can begin to recruit the “other” as a partner to help eliminate the threat. Begin by fixing the threat fully in mind, and the downstream implications for both parties, such as injured reputations, injured wallets, etc. You may want them to put in their own words the pain that they will face if the issue is not resolved and the threat reduced or eliminated.

Next, point to the benefits of resolving the threat by working together. Describe the shared expertise that will amplify when the threat is approached from a cooperative/collaborative stance. Illuminate the increased efficiency, or the decreased chances of failure by collaborating.

Then propose a course of action, assuming all the while that they will agree and participate. This approach is called an “assumptive close,” which folks in sales will recognize. You may need to discuss / dialogue with them options for courses of action in order to find one that will work best for both/multiple  parties.  You may need to fend off the desire for a perfect answer in order to arrive at a practical answer.

Having won this battle, it becomes much easier to maintain an alliance against those outside forces.  But you cannot assume that it wil be maintained.  Instead, you must assume that adversity will readliy find itself into the relationship again.  So, you must constantly build and maintain the relationship, even when it seems irrelevant.  You are investing in trust andthe felt experience of being allies, which will pay dividends down the line.

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