Insights Blog

Useful tools, tips and strategies to help your business learn, develop and expand.

Best Business Books to Read: Radical Candor

If you only have nice things to say, then your management style might be holding you back.

A woman who was a successful manager at Google and Apple wrote this book on her approach to management. I would highly recommend it to anyone who wishes to become not just great, but exceptional in the way they communicate.


Radical Candor by Kim Scott is all about striking the balance between being overly aggressive and being ruinously empathetic in your communication approach. The result is employees who achieve more and produce better results because they are both praised and criticised as they are guided to become better at what they do.

I, myself, have witnessed business owners from both ends of this spectrum. When they come for business coaching, we often quickly identify that their management style might be one of the areas which could be tweaked for greater performance. I tell them about this framework and ask them to start trying to practice this kind of authenticity with their team.

It’s incredible to see the shift that they make, simply by becoming more aware of what they are doing. And almost inevitably, their change in leadership style ripples out to create change across their entire business.

In the end, the tagline on the book says it all, “Be a kickass boss without losing your humanity.”

Have you read Radical Candor? What did you think?

Want to discuss your team management strategy?

Team management is one of the most common issues facing business owners in organisations of all sizes. However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution – effective team management must be tailored to balance the manager’s style, the employee’s behavioural profile, and the requirements of the business.

If you think that the management style in your business could be optimised to produce even better results with your team, then book a free session with us and we’ll give you our point of view on it.

Our previous top business books recommendations:


3 Plays to Improve Your Negotiation Game


Almost every successful business owner will have nurtured a particular skill to the point of it becoming a superpower: negotiation.

Negotiation happens at every level in your business and is most important when dealing with your suppliers. You may be the receiver or executor of the negotiation but either way, you need to learn how to master power negotiation. That is the art of getting what you require, while also leaving the other person with the win.

This game is all about the mindset. Perhaps you walk into a meeting with someone from a large corporation, and you feel like you aren’t going to be able to hold a candle to them. If so, you’ve already lost your power. Never forget, you are dealing with an individual, not the whole company. You and the person you are negotiating with are locked in a 1-on-1 game – you just need to be the best athlete.

Like any sport, negotiating has rules and plays. To win, you’ve got to practice the plays and watch the other player closely to choose the right one to execute at the right time. Learn how to predict the reactions of the other party, and you can steer the outcome to your favour.

Most games are all but decided in the first moments. Just think about a Formula 1 race. Everyone wants to see the first round because it is those first moments that result in accidents big and small that will shape the rest of the championship – and then you can pretty much predict who will end up on the podium with the champagne and the trophy.

Pay attention to how you begin your negotiations, and you will likely find your success rate change dramatically. (I hope you’re testing and measuring it!)

Here are 3 opening gambits of negotiation in business that I have seen make the most difference to business owners’ negotiation game:

1. Don’t start first and open with less

This is a technique called “bracketing” and is one of the most commonly used and most effective negotiation strategies. The idea is that you get the other party to establish their position first – ask them to state their price. Then you can offer less than you are willing to pay, bracketing your target price between the price they suggested and your opening offer.

With this technique, even if you are facing a master negotiator, you will still come closer to your target price than when you open with your own offer first – or start with your target price!

2. Always flinch at proposal

It doesn’t matter how good that proposal is, the first thing they say must always at least seem like it hurts you. Flinch openly and it naturally motivates the other party to compromise downwards to make you feel better.

It’s not always easy displaying emotions, especially in a culture like that of the UK where we don’t often express things openly. However, if you learn to show how that price hurts, you’ll probably start playing with someone who is much more cooperative in helping you both get over that finish line.

3. Silence is golden

This is such a simple technique, it often surprises and delights my clients at how well it works.

When the other party presents you with a proposal that doesn’t meet your requirements, you just say, “You’ll have to do better than that.” Then you stay quiet.

The silence motivates your other player to come back to you with a better offer. If you happen to be dealing with a veteran player in the game of negotiation, they might then respond with, “Exactly how much better than that do I have to do?” This is an attempt to get you to make an offer first – going back to that first technique above. The game is now afoot!

This whole thing really is a game. Sometimes it is one of chance, but often if you know the plays well and predict the movements of the other player just enough, you will ensure a win for yourself – and for them.

The best negotiators don’t just get what they want; they manage to work out a compromise that leaves both parties satisfied. Reaching that perfect equilibrium is where the skill and the fun happens.

And you don’t need to just apply this to your suppliers – it is for your potential or existing employees, your friends and your family as well. Negotiation is happening in every element of your life at varying degrees.

The final skill to keep in your bag of negotiation tricks is to remember not to take “no” so seriously – that’s just an opening negotiation position! Enjoy the game!

Think your game could use polishing?

London Business Coaching Strategy SessionYou are an athlete of sorts. Power negotiation is one sport in the Olympic games that is running a business. The best players, the Olympians of the sports world, have someone watching their plays and helping sharpen their game.

Think those tools of yours could use a finer edge to help you punch above the rest? Let’s find out if our tools could be your winning tool.

Crucial Business Communication

There is an important communication that all business owners need to have with their teams, especially as they reflect on the year and plan for the next. You’ll be surprised how often it is overlooked…

Remember, the formula for success – any kind of success – is Be x Do  = Have. That is, the results that you get in your business are directly dependant on the things you do and on your ability to do them.

What that means for you as the leader of your team, is that beyond managing the activities your team are doing, you also need to understand who they are and how they are growing, if you want to maximise their success.

When communicating with your team at the end of the year – or quarter – you are probably taking a close look at what strategies and activities they are focusing on. You may also be taking a look at what their behaviour has been like. But actions are only 5% of what makes them who they are – like an iceberg, there is a lot more hidden underneath the surface. The rest of who they are, and what they are ‘being’, can be uncovered by looking at skills, beliefs, values and identity.

This is the time to ask your team to reflect on how they have developed in these areas, and find out if they are growing the core parts of their being. Have they been doing training? What motivates them and drives them? Is this changing?

If you want a continuously successful team, then they must be doing better and being better with every year with you. Your company culture is key in motivating your team and while perks can do this to a degree, it is their professional and personal development that will keep your superstars committed to the excellence of their work.

Also remember though that your team is a reflection of yourself, so make sure you, too, are focusing on both doing better and being better as well.

Prefer to read rather than watch and listen? No problem – here’s everything I said in the video as text: 

We are currently having some internal communication with our clients as to what they need to communicate towards the end of the year to get the team ready and engaged for the next year. And I thought this might be useful for you as well, just to see how do you get the best engagement and best productivity from your talent.

What Generally Happens with Team Communication

What generally happens, first of all, is that not enough communication happens at all in many businesses. Secondly, if it does happen, then the focus is more on the goals, the targets, and the “What do we have to do?” It’s all about the new activities or the scaling up of the activities.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of that. I am a person who believes in numbers. I know that the language of the business is numbers and not something else. So I love targets, I love goals, I love action plans. But I think, personally, there’s one fundamental thing which is not emphasized enough.

The Fundamental Communication That is Often Forgotten

For me, it is the mindset that is often left out. It’s the leader who sets the mindset for the team, reminding them of the winning mindset principles, and engaging the team members with how we need to be. We are so comfortable with all the ‘doing’ – the ‘more’ things – the more prospects to chase, the more activities that need to be done in the business, that we forget the communication that needs to happen around the being.

What are the habits that one person needs to drop? What are the habits that we need to pick up? What are the new behaviours? What are the new identities, new values that one needs to really start paying attention to? What are the values which are not benefiting an individual, a team?

The way I see it these are all very mindset related. They’re very fundamental to the core of any human being. When one starts focusing on the values, the identity, the behaviours, the skills, that’s when truly the impact happens and actions and decisions and what’s visible to the outside world.

Team Communication Begins With Your Mindset First

You as a leader really need to reflect on this and say that, towards the end of the year, what communication do I need to do which actually helps my team to have that transformational shift in their identity of doing even better? Of getting even better results for themselves and obviously for the business.

So make sure that you’re not just focusing on doing more but actually focusing on being even better, you yourself and then you along with your team.

If you want to be and do better than ever next year…

London Business Coaching Strategy SessionOur business coaching is about helping business owners optimise their ‘being’ and leverage their ‘doing’ so they can achieve sustainable growing success.

Explore how our strategies work at a free coaching session and then decide for yourself if we could be your leg up to make next year your best ever.

Best Business Quotes From Shweta Jhajharia

The world has become a disaster zone and everywhere you look, things appear to be coming apart at the seams. Or are they?

“Things can be both bad and better.”

This is a concept that Hans Rosling espoused as a way to mitigate against the overdramatic reporting that saturates our media outlets.

We’re constantly at war. There is consistent violence. There are natural disasters happening everywhere. Corruption is festering in every corner. It makes sense that these are the things journalists focus on – they’re dramatic and make for a juicer news story to attract attention.

But it’s not an accurate view, or more, not a complete one. In 1966, around 50% of the world was living in abject poverty. In 2017, that number fell to 9%. Rosling gives more examples of ways the world has “gotten better” in his article in The Guardian.

The point is not to say that things are all rainbows and butterflies – there are still problems to be fixed. But we have also achieved a lot. Things being ‘bad’ does not necessarily exclude the fact that they are ‘better’.

This is an important mindset for successful entrepreneurs to adopt when they are considering their business ‘health’ as well.

There will inevitably be tough times in your business. There will be moments when you look around and it feels like things are falling apart. A key team member has quit. A metric on your dashboard is on the decline. A big deal didn’t go through.

Our natural biological instincts are to focus on the things that are going wrong as that encourages us to fix them. Unfortunately, business owners can sometimes take this to an extreme such that they cannot see anything else. And that leads to demotivation and disengagement. The feeling that “maybe I’m not good enough at this.”

It’s important to take the time – especially towards the end of a quarter or a year – to reflect on what you have achieved and how far you have come. When you start to panic, practice saying to yourself, “Am I actually doing better than I was doing last year? Have I made positive improvements?”

You can then start to really single out the areas that actually need your attention, without feeling overwhelmed by unnecessary stress.

I reinforce this idea at coaching sessions by asking clients an important question, which you should ask yourself each week too:

What was your top achievement this week?

So, what was your top achievement this week?

Sometimes you need someone outside your sphere to help show you the sun that’s hiding behind the clouds. It’s one of the functions that business coaches serve – besides helping identify strategies for growth.

Mood is important. Let us know how you’re feeling and let’s see if there’s a way we can get you over the hurdles to take your business to the next level.

Book a Free Coaching Session

One of my clients asked a very prudent question recently: how do you adjust goals at each quarterly review?

If you’re smashing targets, is the answer to reach higher? If you’re not meeting targets, do you push harder, or do you revise them down?

There’s no single answer, but there is an important concept that needs to be kept in mind in your decision making.

Inspired from The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg ­– when thinking about your goals remember that “small wins over time achieve big success.”

If you engage in any kind of business coaching or business consultancy, goal planning will almost certainly be central to developing a clear strategy. It is a consistent module at the quarterly Strategic Growth Intensives we do with our clients and guest business owners.

This is not just about setting some goals at the start of the year and dusting it off the next year. It’s about constant review of dashboards and steering the boat accordingly.

Steering that boat usually involves setting KPIs for each of your team members that contribute to your business’s overall performance.

So, we come to that initial question – how do you adjust your goals at each quarterly review?

If you’re smashing your goals, it doesn’t actually make sense to move the goal posts. That isn’t motivating for your team. Look at the quote above. You aren’t looking to constantly raise the bar ­– you’re looking to set realistic goals that can be achieved over time to achieve the big success you are ultimately looking for.

And if you are not meeting your goals, then it is wise to review and revise them down. Set achievable, realistic goals and as your team achieves each small win, they will be more motivated to achieve the next and the next. It is ok to recognise the initial goals were unrealistic after assessing some real, well-measured data.

Whatever your situation, when setting goals, make sure you keep in mind that it is those small, realistic wins that will keep your business moving steadily forward and upward.

Download your Personal Goals template for free

Business goals should be informed by your personal goals. Why are you running a business if it is not contributing to what you want in life?

Below is a free template that our team personally uses, including Shweta herself. Many of our clients have found it helpful in making it clear what they are hoping to achieve, and how their business should be helping them to do that.

Download the Personal Goals Template

Your sales process should be unique. And it should have a certain number of steps that is optimal for your business and your audience.

But no matter which step you are looking at in your process, there is one critically important tool you should be using every time…


“Your best tool in sales is the Question.” – Shweta Jhajharia

On one of our ActionCLUB group coaching calls, one of our clients who runs a graphic design agency asked us about how to get clients to convert faster. We talked about a number of strategies, but one of the most important concepts I spent some time going through was establishing a strong and effective sales process.

Your sales process may run for whatever time period you think is suitable – could be a week, a few weeks, a month. Whatever it is, you should have a clear set of steps, and you should be in control of carrying your prospect from one touch point to the next.

A way to do that is to use powerful questions at every step in your process. You need to use questions to highlight the pains that your prospects have and illuminate how your product or service solves those problems.

When you master the art of asking the right questions, you will almost certainly find your conversions happening at a greater speed, and with far less stress and anxiety.

Get Help With Your Sales Process

You don’t have to struggle with your sales process alone. Request a free session with us, and let us know that sales is your main issue.

We can then tailor a completely free session that’s all about your sales process, so you can get a taste of whether our business coaching strategies are suitable for you or not.

Business growth is often thought to come hand-in-hand with new, novel and exciting ideas.

However, in my experience, most business owners need a reminder of an important strategy when it comes to creating business growth…

“Repetition is a form of change.”

This was a reminder that I mentioned during one of our group coaching calls with our clients. I was reminding them that at the start of every quarter, you need to sit down with your team and have a quarterly planning meeting. You need to communicate to them how the business is progressing, where you are heading in the coming quarter, and what their ongoing goals and KPIs are.

Many business owners think they need something new and exciting to talk about, to entertain their team. However, I believe in this: you need to repeat the fundamentals, the values, the goals, the activities, the incentives. Because it is only when you repeat things a certain number of times that people start to get the hang of what you are trying to say.

And while that especially applies to your communication standard with your team, you can apply this to every aspect of your business. Your own repetition of learning the fundamentals of business will give you the mastery you need to take your business to the next level.

To change your business, perhaps it is not new ideas you need, but systems of repetition to reinforce the foundations that will support the growth you seek.

Need a check that you’ve got the fundamentals?

Business coaches are there to help remind you of the foundations that you need to make sure are set up in your business to facilitate growth.

During the first, complimentary session with us, we will help highlight any areas where you are immediately able to strengthen and enhance your foundations.

A client recently asked me about what they should do when their team members are consistently not meeting deadlines.

My answer probably wasn’t quite what they were expecting.

“Communication is the response that you get.”

You can focus on what your team members are not doing, and what they should be doing. You can try to think about ‘motivation’ strategies and improving productivity, to get them to see the value in their work, to help them understand what their contribution means to the business.

However, everything has to start from you – as the leader, business owner or key team member.

If you are getting a certain response from your team, such as them not meeting deadlines, then the first thing I would like you to do is reflect on your communication.

This may sound harsh to some leaders, but this is where taking ownership and accountability comes in. How effectively are you communicating what you would like your team members to do?

When you start with your ‘being’ – assessing your own behaviour, actions and understanding first – you will have done 80% of the work in ‘motivating’ your team members to do what they are supposed to do. 

Want to be the best leader you can be?

Take a look at what a complimentary business strategy session could offer you. The idea is to find out which growth strategies could work best in your business.

We review your business and highlight any areas where we could help you do even better. You choose to either take the information that and improve your business yourself, or commit to ongoing coaching. Your choice: no obligation, no pressure. 

Most business owners I speak to want to see themselves as winners.

But is winning your only option or is it a ‘nice to have’?.

“Everyone wants to win. Some people refuse to lose.”

This is something I’ve often reminded clients of in my business coaching sessions. Wanting to win is often a great way to move forward in business. However, time and again, the game changes to one of persistence and resilience and this subtle shift of thinking becomes crucial to continue to move forward.

Remember that 50% of businesses cease to exist after just five years. And only one third ever make it to ten.

What makes the difference between those who continue to succeed and those who burn out is a focus on getting the next result, taking the next step on the ladder, reaching the next milestone!

When failure is not acceptable, you set yourself milestones which are stretched but achievable and do ‘whatever it takes’ to build a winning streak.

Just as when we say focus on purpose first, or how Simon Sinek says to Start With Why – when your only option is to win, your own mind and then the universe comes together to focus on getting there.

In keeping space in your mind for losing and for failure, you often allow it in – and ‘by refusing to lose’ – you shift completely away from all the reasons of poor results.

And in the end, you build yourself and your business as a consistent winner.

Want More Business Anecdotes?

I put together some of the best stories, advice, and frameworks that I use in my business coaching sessions into a book called SPARKS: Ideas to Ignite Business Growth.

Using the button below you can grab your copy for free (you just pay for the shipping costs!) [While stock continues to last.]

During a coaching session the other week, one of my clients was happily telling me about all the marketing activities they had executed recently. As they rattled off a whole list of things they were doing, I stopped them for a second and asked, “But do you know which of these activities are working?” “Hmm. I guess I’m not sure,” was their answer.

And they knew immediately that they were making a big mistake…

This is what I said to them, “Whatever you can measure, you can manage and improve.”

This is a critical part of ensuring that your business continues to grow rather than stagnating at a plateau. You should be building some sort of dashboard in your business, where you can carefully measure the most important metrics.

This is not just in your sales and marketing, but you should also be ensuring you have at least a mid-year review of your financials (here’s three key metrics you should look at) and, well, almost every part of your business, really.

In fact, even areas where you cannot have a specific number should still be measured using some form of Key Performance Indicators – such as the 3 KPIs for Managing Directors that I have talked about before.

If you are simply doing things without any kind of measurement, not only will you be uncertain about whether you are growing or not, you will also find it difficult to motivate yourself and your team to stay excited about what you are doing. In the end, the small wins and everyday progress are what motivates people – so there is a double benefit of stimulating growth and encouraging your team to perform better and better.

What are you measuring? And what have you not started measuring that you will start measuring now?

What Are You Measuring?

When you gain a business coach or business mentor, you acquire not only an outside perspective on your business, but also someone who keeps you accountable and helps you identify what you need to focus on in order to grow your business. 

When you book a complimentary strategic review of your business, we’ll help you see just how valuable this can be.

Book a Free Strategic Review

Not too long ago, during a coaching session with Paul Hastings, one of the business owners I work with, we discussed team management. He articulated a learning he had gained from that session about managing the progression of team members that was so compelling, I thought it was worth sharing here:

“Management is not a status, it is an activity. A lot of team members aspire to the status but not the activities of management. During recruitment and promotion exercises, this needs to be explicit.” – Paul Hastings, Director, Reflections.

This is an important reminder for all business owners – when you move your team members up into the higher echelons of your business, what kind of guidance and training are you giving them?

We often talk about when to make new hires, and how to onboard new recruits effectively. However, it’s important that when you are managing your team, and you are upgrading your team, that you are ensuring they are aware of their new responsibilities.

The job description is one of the critical parts of your recruitment process, and if you are hiring for a management position, ensure you make it really clear that this is a job that requires serious work and may be difficult, especially if you were a superstar as an individual performer.

Need help with recruitment?

business consulting servicesRecruitment of good managers, and even executives, can be a nightmarish process that wastes loads of time – and results in hiring someone not right for the job. We, therefore, developed a process that helps to find the best candidates, and only uses 4 hours of your time…

On a coaching call recently, one of my clients seemed a bit puzzled about how to move forward with analysing the numbers in her business.

The source of her confusion was not that she was looking at the wrong figures or had a confusing dashboard or anything like that. It wasn’t even that she was looking at dwindling numbers and wondering how to boost her team’s performance.

In fact, it was that she had started some marketing activities, and all the numbers were in the green. “Everything is going fine, what do I do now?”

It’s a pretty good problem to have isn’t it? The following was something I said to her, which I think is a great reminder for all the business owners who are running successful businesses:


“We overanalyse failure, but often forget to analyse our success – the things we want more of.” – Shweta Jhajharia

Many leaders are exceptionally hard on themselves as a way of driving themselves forward. Through the analysis of what went wrong, they seek to ensure past failures do not happen again.

While that is very valid, the best leaders know how to not just assess what went wrong, but also review what went right, and how to replicate their successes over and over again.

It is important to remember this. Give importance to, celebrate, and learn from your successes as much as your failures.

Want to boost your own successes?

Even leaders sometimes need to be reminded to celebrate their wins. Business coaches and business mentors are there to do that and to help analyse those wins in the most useful way.

With a free strategic review, you can find out if your business is one that we can work with to push the boundaries of success.

Book a Free Strategic Session

At the Strategic Growth Intensive in October, one of the areas we discussed in a little more depth was marketing.

And just recently, at one of our complimentary sessions we had to remind a new prospect about one of those really fundamental mindset principles around marketing that helps keep you focused on the right things…

London Coaching Group Best Business Quotes Marketing Is Not About Being Prolific, It's About Being Precise

“Marketing is not about being prolific. It’s about being precise.”

In today’s world of advanced technology and the long, rich history that marketing now has, it gets confusing. You’re assaulted with marketing advice. This technique, that strategy, this system.

It’s tempting to try it all. Everything is important. Anything might get you results.

But when you stretch yourself too thin and attempt to be everywhere at once, the likely result is that you will end up reaching a lot of people, not the right people, and you’ll reach them with a muddled message.

Most likely, you will also end up being unable to measure what you are doing, and then how will you know which technique is actually working?

You should choose a highly targeted niche, focus on finding out everything about your Avatar, and then craft the perfect lead magnets to really speak to the people who are actually going to buy from you.

And then with careful testing and measuring in place, you can refine your marketing approach and choose the channels that actually bring you sales, and not just visitors.

When you focus like this, you can create a marketing strategy that brings you a true flow of inbound leads, which will massively boost your growth without increasing your working hours.

How precise do you get with your marketing? Let us know your own insights in the comments below.

Want to talk to us about marketing?

going-global-live-social-media-masterclassShweta will be giving keynote speeches at the Going Global business show, and we will additionally be hosting a Social Media Masterclass at various times on both days.

Tickets are free, so join us to hear more strategies and talk to us directly.

One of my clients at his first business coaching session was resisting when I tried to convince him that he needed a weekly dashboard.

“It’s such a hassle to try and make sure I do that every week – it seems like a waste of my time.”

This was the answer that I gave him:

Shweta Business Quotes - Choose the pain of discipline over the pain of non-performance

“Choose the pain of discipline over the pain of non-performance.”

Sometimes it can seem like a real struggle to wade through the numbers of your business, or do some of those tasks that you know you should do but you don’t really want to do.

It is at those moments that you should remind yourself that these are the tasks that will take your business to that next level. They may not be the most exciting parts of running your business, but they are essential for systemised growth.

Just like training for a sport, it usually requires discipline to truly perform in the big leagues. So get ‘in the zone’ and get disciplined about your business so you can take it to the next grade.

What practices are you disciplined with in your business? Let us know in the comments below.

Every Sportsperson Has A Coach…

Business owners are like athletes: they need strength, practice and discipline! Athletes achieve that with the help of their coach. Would your business benefit from the same with a business coach?

Book a Free Session

Business owners often get very excited when the prospect of growth is within reach. That grasp at growth before they have the right systems and team in place, however, can often result in more problems than they were expecting.

It’s important to consider your processes, and today instead of sharing a long article, I want to share with you a thought that we shared on our Instagram account recently:


Managing a superstar team starts from the very first job ad that you put out. Make sure you have an effective recruitment process in place so that when you do hire someone, they’re the right someone. Because your business is only as good as your team.

And your team is only as good as your leadership skills.

Want To Become A Better Team Leader?

Recruitment of the right person for the job is really only the first stage. Motivating and managing a team of fantastic employees requires another set of skills.

Join the webinar and find out if you could be helping your team work better, faster and smarter.

How to Escape the Drama Triangle

Imagine a child walks into his house and he’s obviously upset. His mum tries to step forward to help and starts suggesting things he should do to feel better.

The child rejects her. She gets upset. Her partner comes home. There’s more tension. Everything starts to unravel.

A similar situation happens in your business – your team members may often react in ways you don’t respond well to and it becomes a bigger drama than it should be.

However, there’s an easy way to escape this…

You can see that the Karpman Drama Triangle is such an easy trap to fall into – but it is also actually an easy one to escape.

Drama is different from conflict. Conflict in your team can actually be great, and useful when directed well.

However, when you get drawn into a toxic cycle around this triangle, it doesn’t help your business grow and it will contribute to an overall negative culture in your business.

Master the art of this triangle in every aspect of your life and not only does it become easier to manage your relationships with people, but you and the people you interact with will all get much more out of your relationships.

Prefer to read rather than watch and listen? No problem – here’s everything I said in the video as text:

What happened there?

Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted to help the other person and you had the best intentions in your mind and heart and something triggered? And the entire conversation went in the wrong direction and you just wondered what happened there? Then emotions start flying and people start feeling in a certain way and you’re kind of lost and overwhelmed.

As to what did you do wrong… well, it’s bound to happen because when you’re dealing with human beings, all kinds of biochemical reactions and emotions come into play.

The Karpman Drama Triangle

I wanted to share with you a very simple yet very powerful framework which exists in behavioural science and it’s called Karpman Drama Triangle. Once you understand this drama triangle, you can see it happening around you and how you being a part of it. This whole emotional vortex that exists is unnecessary and is purely draining, energy-wise and emotions wise.

Now how Karpman Drama Triangle looks like is something like this:

You’ve got three main positions: Persecutor, Rescuer and Victim. And as it says, Persecutor is the one who gets upset, who thinks that things should be handled in a certain way. Rescuer obviously wants to save people, wants to help people, and in fact loves the recognition or the attention they get for doing that. And Victim is a person who feels that things are happening to this person and is helpless, and is just suffering. That’s how, at least, the person is thinking.

Now I’ll give you an example so that it just becomes a little clearer to you.

Family Drama

So imagine a child walks into the house and has got something playing on his mind. Mum (or any parent, I’m just using mum as I’m a mother myself) comes forward as a Rescuer and says, what happened? And tries to help. As you can imagine.

The child doesn’t want the help at that time so acts a little rudely.

Mum is doing so much for the child already. She feels that she’s being Victimized and she’s trying to help. So from being a Rescuer mum moves to being a Victim and the child is being a Persecutor.

Mum, obviously being the authority figure, gets upset with the child and shouts or kind of shows those stern feelings, and starts Persecuting.

The child all of a sudden from Persecutor becomes the Victim.

Mum is now sitting here in the evening. The spouse walks in and obviously, there’s a discussion.

The spouse tries to be the Rescuer. Again the Victim mum is sitting there and saying I do so much, what’s gone wrong?

And as you can imagine the whole family environment has gone out of the window and there is a big drama happening within the household with no positive outcome nearby.

And Business Drama

Similarly, in the business situation, as you can imagine; you’re in the best mindset, you try to give some feedback to your team member, your team member feels you have not really understood where he or she was coming from, and so is a Victim.

They ignore your advice and what you asked him or her to do. You obviously get upset, you start Persecuting.

The team member maybe responds back or shows some kind of a body language. You all of a sudden start feeling like a Victim.

You go back home, share with your spouse saying, “Look I tried to do so much and my team doesn’t pay attention or respect me.” And again, as you can see, the whole thing is going on and on.

Sometimes I’ve seen business owners giving some very strong feedback to their team member but then they get so conscious of the team member feeling bad, so they all of a sudden move to being a Rescuer. They’re trying to help the team member, the team member then starts Persecuting in his or her own style. The business owner starts feeling like the Victim and so on and so forth. You get the point right?

You see how draining and how wasteful this whole interaction is just because people are stuck in this triangle, moving from one position to the other without even being aware of how they’re coming across. But everyone is right and has his or her own capacity in their own mind.

Escape the Drama

The reason I’m sharing with you this particular framework is because I want you to be very observant, to be very attentive when this is happening or has the potential of happening, and as soon as you can see that one might be getting sucked into this whole Karpman Triangle. The best way to get out of it, whether you’re dealing with your loved one or you’re dealing with your team members, or with anyone, is to try not to be the Rescuer. Try not to be the Victim or be that Persecutor.

Do this by asking the other person one question: How can I help you?

Remember that mum? What if she had asked the child, “How can I help you?”

“Leave me alone Mum.”

“All right that’s fine. Then whenever you’re ready we’ll talk.”

Right, so there is a nice, at parity kind of relationship.

And your team member – yeah you’re giving feedback, but at least ask people or tell them, give them the context and tell them how you’re trying to help them.

Or even before you do that, ask them what they think about it and then say, “How can I help you?” Or, “Is it OK if I help you?”

Take permission.

When people give you permission to help them you’ll be surprised at how they stop feeling like a Victim. Then there is parity, the word is “parity”. They feel that they have autonomy and equality in that status, so they’re more willing to receive that feedback that you’re trying to give.

And they’d be thankful, they’ll do something about it.

But first, take permission before you start being the Rescuer or Persecutor and therefore end up feeling like a Victim if people are not paying attention to what you’re saying. So the best way to get out of your Karpman Drama Triangle is to ask the question.

How can I help you?

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