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We Develop Human Capital "Not to unlearn what you have learned is the most necessary kind of learning" said Antisthenes. Our passion at 'The Enablers' is to develop people. Developing human resources is more important to 'The Enablers' than getting clients. We want to make sure that people take way something valuable and useful for their lives. In our workshops, we create an environment which is conducive to learning. We encourage participants to: • Un-learn what is obsolete. • Learn what is contemporary to become futuristic. • Un-learn and re-learn, un-learn and re-learn again! When people follow these three steps, the miracle process begins - the process of excelling. With this mission, 'The Enablers' was established in January 2004 by Prof. Vivek Hattangadi. ‘The Enablers’ unlock the concealed potential in people and leverage their latent talent so they emerge as winners. In our learning sessions, the participants learn the way an excellent surgeon learns - practicing what has been learned through purposeful activities rather than merely from instructions. Our sessions are pragmatic; learning’s are doable. We have a large clientele even outside India.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Coping with Unreasonable Demands

This a very interesting article downloaded from Mind Tools

Coping With "Unreasonable Demands"Job Stress Management from Mind Tools - James Manktelow


Demands that seem unreasonable can be a tremendous source of stress.

These often arise when innocent situations come together and reinforce one another to create stressful, extreme, and unfeasible demands on you. For example, if you are in a customer service role, several customers can be clamoring for completion of large jobs at the same time. This becomes intensely stressful when you only have the resource to service a few of them.

Similarly, enthusiastic middle managers can amplify the importance of simple, low priority requests from senior managers, creating unwarranted pressure on implementation teams. In other situations, requirements can be misunderstood when transmitted from person-to-person, the importance of deadlines can be overstated, and requests can be made in ignorance of key pieces of information.

Obviously, real emergencies can also occur. Resolving these can often require extreme and unpleasant levels of activity from all involved.

In all of these cases, and in many others, reasonable people can make unreasonable demands with or without knowing it. If you add into this the concept of “stretch goals”, the fact that people making requests may not have correctly appreciated the situation, and the fact that that people may be playing normal commercial games, you can see how problems arise.

This tool helps you to work through apparently unreasonable demands to understand what lies behind them, and develop appropriate solutions to them. It helps you to work effectively with the person making the demand to find a satisfactory solution, rather than just assuming that the other person is “difficult and unreasonable”. This helps you to reduce the stress that these situations can cause.

Using the Tool:

By using this process, you can ensure that:
· The situation has not arisen as a result of a misunderstanding;
· You have fairly tried to understand the other person’s position;
· You have explored all reasonable ways to meet the demands; and
· You have tried to negotiate a fair compromise.
Each step in the diagram is explained below:

1. Check Your Information and Assumptions:

The first stage of this process is simply to make sure of your information. Check that you have not made any incorrect assumptions. Then check that you fully understand what you are being asked to do. Finally, confirm when it needs to be delivered. If you are set a deadline, understand why that deadline has been set, and what happens if it is not met. You may find that deadlines are actually much more flexible and arbitrary than they initially appear.

2. Look From the Other Person’s Perspective:

If things still seem unreasonable, try looking at the situation from the other person’s perspective. Make sure you are fully aware of all of the facts. For example, if you are working at full capacity and someone asks you to take on more priority work, they might not know how much work you have on. Explain the situation to them, and try to negotiate an appropriate solution.

Tip: “Negotiate" is an overloaded word. It conjures up images of sophisticated ploys and subtle gamesmanship. While this can be true in very important negotiations with a great deal at stake, what “negotiate” normally means is "find a mutually acceptable solution". This is often easy, and is something we do all the time.

It is also quite possible that what seems unreasonable to you, might seem fine to someone else. For example, if you are new to a company, it might have a longer hours culture than you are used to. As another example, a client needing to place a priority order may expect it to be turned around in a reasonable time - the fact that your production process is backlogged may not interest them. Come to a fair view of what is right in the set circumstances with which you have to work, and then manage the situation appropriately.

3. Explore Your Alternatives and the Cost of the Alternatives:

If the demand still seems unreasonable, think through all the ways in which you might try to meet it. A little
lateral thinking may help you to find a solution. Evaluate the impact of any possible solution.

4. Explain Your Perception Assertively:

Using the techniques we described in our
assertiveness article, arrange a meeting and explain the situation as you see it in an assertive manner.

5. Agree or Disagree, and Manage the Consequences:

By this stage, you will have done everything that you can reasonably be expected to do to meet the unreasonable demand.

It is still quite possible that you may not have agreed on a fair way forward. The other person may be trying to squeeze you to get a better deal than is normal. This is quite often the case in tough commercial negotiations (particularly where the other person does not expect to have to do business with you again).
Alternatively (this is unpleasant) they may have political “hidden agendas” and may want you to fail or be disadvantaged.

This is where you need to know your “BATNA” – your Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement. This is the course of action or outcome that is open to you if you do not agree to meet the unreasonable demand. You also need to have an idea of what the future value of the relationship might be, as making a sacrifice now may bring strong benefit in the future.If your BATNA is good, then the other person may have little power to impose the demand on you. Either use your BATNA to negotiate good compensation for coping with the unreasonable demand, or reject it.

If your BATNA is poor, then you may have to agree to the demand. Even if this is the case, try to negotiate some form of fair compensation for any pain you have to accept.

If you choose to turn down the demand, make sure that you
manage this with all of the stakeholders who will be affected - this gives them the opportunity to support you and help to manage the consequences.


It is far too easy to immediately jump to the conclusion that someone is a “bad person” when they make an unreasonable demand of you. In reality, people can make unreasonable demands for a whole range of good and bad reasons.

This tool gives you a process for working through seemingly unreasonable demands. This involves the following stages:
· Checking your information and assumptions;
· Looking from the other person’s perspective;
· Exploring the alternatives;
· Explaining your perceptions assertively; and
· Agreeing or disagreeing, and managing the consequences.

If you choose to turn down the demand, make sure that you explain the reasons for this to
all appropriate stakeholders. We talk about this next.

Please do communicate to me


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