I never realised it at the time, but back in the day when I was an up-and-coming credit manager, I somehow always found myself in the land of opportunities. I’d imagine what that next step would look like, feel like, and how I could make a difference in the world of credit management and stretch my personal development.
On reflection, those opportunities would not have been presented had I not the trusting relationship and conversations with my colleagues and upper management. Little did I know, I was in some aspect seeing the world through the C-IQ lens.
What is C-IQ?
Developed over 35 years by C-IQ pioneer Judith E. Glaser, Conversational Intelligence™ (C-IQ) is the next generation of intelligences that is shifting leadership and organisations to the next level of greatness. Through understanding the interaction dynamics in one’s conversation, people can learn to use these dynamics to connect, navigate and grow with others to build collaborative relationships.
Scientific studies across various disciplines confirm that human beings are hardwired to protect themselves against physical and emotional/ego threats. Whether these threats are actually happening or merely a perceived threat, the human brain will engage a protective mechanism just the same. This is known as the fight, flight, or freeze response, which is often referred to as being amygdala hijacked. So called because the amygdala is the trigger point for these responses.
Neuroscience research and studies have shown that the power of words trigger the same response. Words and intentions can either open us up to possibilities (successfully negotiate that debt payment) or shut us down for protection (no alternative but to proceed legally).
Credit through the C-IQ lens
The world of credit management is very much about building relationships and the ability to hold conversations at all levels. I also know from experience that having solid credit policies and procedures in place, combined with a trusting customer relationship, will result in positive changes in their payment behaviour. These changes tend to result in being prioritised for payment above all others (legally of course).
So it begs the question, what are your relationships like with your customers? How well do you get paid on time? Are you or your customer hijacked into a battle of useless negotiation?
Let’s face it, credit professionals are constantly on the phone collecting, placing accounts on stop credit, negotiating, and unfortunately at times threatening legal action to recover outstanding debts. It definitely puts them in a place of power and influence over the customer. Imagine yourself as the credit professional negotiating for payment, and knowing that you have the upper hand.
Ask yourself these questions:
- How does this make you feel to have the upper hand?
- Are you aware of your intentions and how your words impact your customer?
- Are you calm, stressed, or roaring to get on that call?
- Do you use power-over or power-with the customer?
If you answered toward an empathetic approach you’re well on the way to a healthy relationship. Your ability to navigate your customer relationships means you can recognise an amygdala hijack in yourself or your customer. This will give you the opportunity to create a conversational shift toward a more successful outcome.
If on the other hand your answers are geared toward an apathetic approach, you could sincerely benefit from learning how to master C-IQ, raise your self-awareness, and create a space for trusting conversations to open up.
Fostering collaborative relationships can at times be challenging. Learning how to navigate people will give you the ability to cultivate healthy relationships in a high pressure environment, resulting in elevating trust and fostering higher levels of solutions and problem solving.