Capability: The ability to achieve outcomes

- January 2019

By Laura Ushay, Executive Director at Parbery Consulting

The key to achieving outcomes in the business world is positively influencing other human beings. By this, I measure success in managing human relationships in such a way as to get them to buy-in to what you’re trying to achieve.

The key to influencing other human beings is enlightened self-interest. There are two steps to achieving this:

1. Aligning your own self-interest with the self-interest of others.
2. Integrating this with a higher intangible, noble purpose.

The key to achieving buy-in revolves around two fundamental personal qualities — intelligence and trust.

Intelligence means being smart enough to identify common goals, benefits, interests and motivations.

Common motivations are what people respond to. This can be different for everyone as we’re all unique. Some people like firm structures or autonomy and space, while others like constant engagement or solitude. Having the smarts to see what works for those around you is important.

Trust means doing the right things for the right reasons. After identifying the above, use the information you’ve gained appropriately.

While these two qualities are crucial, they’re probably not weighted equally. It’s one thing for people to think you’re moderately intelligent, but it’s another to know that people, as my husband would say, see you as a safe pair of hands. It’s one thing to be smart, but it’s another to be truthful, honourable, dependable, and reliable.

Enlightened self-interest does not mean having your acts of good faith exploited and manipulated. But it doesn’t mean being constantly cut-throat, ruthless and adversarial either. The smartest way to achieve your goals is to make sure your colleagues, peers, subordinates and superiors have a stake in the result.

I hasten to add that this is nothing ground-breaking. It’s just built from my own experience, which coincidentally (and funnily enough not surprisingly) also confirms something that is present in all aspects of human relationships. It even appears all the way up to relations between nations.

Trust. Intelligence. Buy-in. Influence. Outcomes. In the world according to me, if you can do this, you bring a capability.