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Use the “magic wand of destiny” to get the desired outcomes

Leaders can use a "magic wand of destiny" to guide conversations to their desired outcome, writes Kathy Stoddard Torrey.

6 min read


magic wand

(Vanity Photos/Getty Images)

Waving around the “magic wand of destiny” is a metaphor for making intentional choices. The ability to choose our actions and thoughts is a fantastic power that we often take for granted or don’t realize that we have.

Many times, we feel that we “have” to do things. For example, we might think that we must cut the grass every week or two. Some of us have already figured out that we can delegate the task to someone else.

However, we have other choices. We could just let it grow and suffer the ire of neighbors and homeowners’ associations. We could rip up the grass and go for a xeriscape front lawn with native plants and rocks. Additionally, we could also plant meadow flowers across the lawn or pave it over.

The consequences will influence our choices, but we usually have more options than we realize. The ability to do and think differently in ways that carry us to our goals is the power of the “magic wand of destiny.”

Define your outcome

One of the first things we want to do when waving around the “magic wand of destiny” is to choose what we want to happen. If we plan to have a conversation with someone, what is the ideal outcome?

We must be careful here because we want to choose the result and keep an open mind about how we might achieve it. For example, let’s say I am regularly late to work. You want me to buy a loud alarm clock and put it across the room from my bed.

That’s not really what you want; you want me to show up to work on time. How that happens is something we will discuss in our conversation. I may not have any trouble getting up on time, but my car may be acting up, or I might have a child who is struggling with an illness. Maybe my babysitter is having a life crisis, and I’m trying to find a new one.

Wave around the “magic wand of destiny” and determine the outcome, but keep an open mind about how to achieve it. Also, remember that in business, one of our outcomes is always to develop or maintain a positive relationship because that is essential for professionalism and good leadership.

Create the proper space

If we begin a conversation aggressively, it will end badly more than 90% of the time. We want to wave around the “magic wand of destiny” and intentionally choose our attitude and mindset before we enter the conversation so that the other person feels psychologically safe.

If we consider how we react when someone starts talking to us in an angry or condescending tone, it becomes clear that a softer touch will result in more collaboration and goodwill.

Our personal needs are to be listened to, understood and respected. If we make meeting someone’s individual needs our goal, we are more likely to create an atmosphere of mutual respect and collaboration, which helps us achieve the desired outcome.

Ask curious questions

When people are paired with good listeners, they are more able to define their thoughts clearly. This is not surprising since poor listeners make us nervous. When we are anxious, we lose our ability to solve problems and see the big picture.

So, before we start trying to convince someone that our way is the best, it’s more productive to wave around the “magic wand of destiny” and choose to ask some curious questions.

When we ask people, in a friendly, non-threatening manner, to explain their ideas to us, we are helping them to see all sides of a situation. Curious questions even help people have a more balanced view of themselves. When faced with a distracted listener, people tend to focus only on their strengths and refuse to consider their weaknesses.

Asking curious questions and thoroughly understanding someone’s point of view before offering our own puts them in a positive emotional state. It makes it easier for them to listen to us with an open mind.

Listen to their solutions first

Once you understand their thoughts and challenges and they understand yours, it’s time to come up with solutions. Wave around the “magic wand of destiny” and resist the urge to lobby for your ideas.

To get buy-in for any solution, we must ensure that the person feels that their ideas were at least seriously considered. We want to keep asking those curious, open-ended questions that make people feel listened to, understood and respected.

After we’ve heard their suggestions for solutions, we can offer our own.

Ask yourself: Does it matter?

Many leaders feel that their solutions are the most logical and efficient. After all, most leaders have a great deal of knowledge and experience. However, we want to pause, wave around the “magic wand of destiny” and ask ourselves: Does it really matter?

If you let the other person achieve the outcome that you want in a way that isn’t ideal in your view, does it really matter? Is there a good chance that they will achieve the goal that you decided on at the beginning of the conversation? Will it be harmful if they do it their way?

Whenever possible, we want to allow people to do things their way because it’s motivating and empowering. No one wants to feel like a pair of hands doing the bidding of others. If we can do it our way, we are more likely to complete a task and have a good attitude about it.

In the end, by waving around the “magic wand of destiny” and insisting less on talking and getting things done our way, the more likely we are to get the outcome that we want. In other words, when we act with emotional intelligence, we achieve more and develop positive relationships, too.

Opinions expressed by SmartBrief contributors are their own.


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