You could be facing your boss, your client, or your coworker.

We all find ourselves in situations where we must to deliver value to someone else. But it’s obviously important to manage expectations. One powerful persuasion technique is to ask for clarification in terms of priorities — using the Value Pyramid.

You Can Have Two, Not Three

Here’s how the Value Pyramid works:

If you want something CHEAP and FAST, you can’t ask for it to be GOOD.

If you want something CHEAP and GOOD, you can’t ask for it to be FAST.

If you want something FAST and GOOD, you can’t ask for it to be CHEAP.

It’s a tough discussion to bring up, for sure, but this conversation won’t be any easier if you postpone it until after your delivery.

Take your pick.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash.

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The triangle seems infallible long term, but not so at short term. Recent graduates, and others, can be fast, competitive and cheap. For them taking a low salary is a matter of limited experience or ignoring the market value of their talents and skills. However, employees that deliver a fast, competitive and cheap job tend to leave quickly. Employees with long term personal goals, or non-for-profit goals, may deliver a fast and competitively job at low cost. In more restrictive societies and cultures fast, competitive and cheap employees may stay a bit longer. Sometimes people from such cultures move to more progressive societies. Until they realize their freedom they leave.