Ask Yourself Whats In It For WE?

read ( words)

"Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success." - Henry Ford

"Individual commitment to a group effort, that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work." - Vince Lombardi


"What's in it for WE?" is a question we ask ourselves. It is not a question we ask of other people. It reflects a way of thinking that affects nearly all of our relationships and interactions with other people. In this article, I will briefly address three points that illustrate the importance of "What's in it for WE?" thinking to leadership, teamwork, and collaboration.

1) Effective collaboration is one of the keys to your business/financial success.

I propose that few great things come from the efforts of only one person. Consider these great collaborations from the world of entertainment:

? Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers

? Elton John and Bernie Taupin

? Paul McCartney and John Lennon

? Bud Abbot and Lou Costello.

How about these collaborations from the world of exploration:

? Capt Meriwether Lewis and William Clark

? Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.

In business we can look to:

? Bill Gates and Paul Allen

? David Abercrombie and Ezra Fitch

? James Smith McDonnell and Donald Wills Douglas

? William Proctor and James Gamble

? Richard Warren Sears and Alvah Curtis Roebuck.

Which of these people would have achieved the same level of success had they attempted to go it alone? I think few of them would have been as successful.

2) How you think determines how others react to you.

People know how you are thinking about them because your thinking impacts your word choice, your tone, and your body language. The better you get at focusing your thoughts on mutual benefit, the more your words, tone and body language will reflect that thinking. As your external behaviors reflect more "What's in it for WE?" thinking, people will be more receptive to working collaboratively with you.

3) If you ask the wrong question, you'll get the wrong answer.

This statement is the primary thought behind this article. I have heard this statement, or some variation of it, applied to sales training, conflict resolution, and communication training. In "QBQ!: The Question Behind The Question", John Miller discusses this statement as it applies to personal accountability. I hope you will apply it to your thinking regarding all of your interactions with other people.

There are two basic types of questions you can ask yourself when you work with others. You can ask yourself "What's in it for ME?" questions or "What's in it for WE?" questions.

"What's in it for ME?" questions focus on the benefit to you alone. They sound like:

? How can I get them to do business with me?

? How can I get people to refer other people to me?

? How can I sell them my product or service?

? Why don't they understand me?

? Why don't they listen to me?

? What's wrong with them?

? How can I get my employees to do what I want them to do?

? How can I get them to work harder?

? Why don't they get more done?

? Why aren't they helping me?

"What's in it for WE?" questions focus on mutual benefit. They sound like:

? How can I add value to this relationship?

? What can I do to help this person?

? Who do I know that can help this person?

? What can we do together that we can't do separately?

? How do we complement each other?

? How can I communicate my ideas more clearly?

? How do I make myself the kind of person that people want to follow?

As I said in the opening paragraph, "What's in it for WE?" is a question we ask ourselves that reflects a way of thinking about other people and our relationships with them. Learn to ask "What's in it for WE?" questions, and you will demonstrate "What's in it for WE?" behaviors. When you demonstrate "What's in it for WE?" behaviors, you will form mutually beneficial, collaborative relationships. These relationships will then form the foundation for your success.

Remember to ask yourself - "What's in it for WE?"

Copyright 2005, Guy Harris

About the Author:

Guy Harris is the Chief Relationship Officer with Principle Driven Consulting. He helps entrepreneurs, business managers, and other organizational leaders build trust, reduce conflict, and improve team performance. Learn more at

Guy co-authored "The Behavior Bucks System TM" to help parents reduce stress and conflict with their children. Learn more about this book at

Rate this article
Current Rating 0 stars (0 ratings)
Click the star above that marks your rating