“I don’t understand why Allison is so upset.”
I was catching up with Earl in his office, a business owner who recently got into a disagreement with a long-term partner of his, Allison, who I happened to know as well, regarding a relatively small item.
(As an aside, I have noticed that almost all items are small in the long run but not so small in the short run)
Earl explained to me what happened and as he told me his version, I completely sided with Earl.
“You’re right Earl; I don’t know why Allison is so upset.”
But then I paused and asked Earl,
“What do you think would happen if Allison called me up and explained that same incident to me?”
Earl thought about it for a moment and then chuckled as he responded, “Knowing you Jeff, I guess if I wasn’t in on the conversation you would probably take Allison’s side.”
“Well, I don’t think I would be taking her side Earl, I just would have an understanding of why Allison felt the way she did and of course she is entitled to feel that way.”
“That wouldn’t make her right Jeff; it would just explain things from her point of view.”
“I completely agree Earl, but at least you would understand Allison’s issue and why she feels the way she does and she would understand what happened from your point of view.”
As I was talking with Earl, he immediately picked up his cell phone and started dialing.
“We are in the middle of a conversation Earl; don’t you think it’s a bit rude to be making a phone call?” I said in a mock serious tone as I knew exactly who Earl was calling.
Earl glared at me and said, “Hey Allison, its Earl, got a minute?”
I walked out of Earl’s office to get some water and chat with some of Earl’s staff that I knew.
After a few minutes as Earl approached me I heard him wrapping up his call with Allison.
“Great Allison, I’ll see you Wednesday.”
“How did it go with Allison discussing the incident?” I immediately asked Earl.
“Oh yes Jeff, I forgot that was the original reason I called Allison. I got to hear her perspective and understand why she was upset. I also got to share with Allison things from my perspective, acknowledge her issue and actually agree that I would have felt the same way if I was her.”
“Of course Allison and I didn’t agree on everything but at least we discussed it and now we could move on. It really wasn’t a big deal for Allison, but I’m glad we talked it through and Allison was very glad that I reached out. You know Jeff; I think this incident and conversation actually strengthened the relationship I have with Allison. We are actually meeting Wednesday to discuss an opportunity that stemmed from this incident.”
Make sure you are not too busy running your company, sending texts, emails and preparing for that next meeting that you forget to have candid conversations with your staff, clients partners, and of course your family that are taking the journey with you. Some of these candid conversations might be more important than others but almost all of these conversations will enhance the journey which is the point isn’t it?
Enjoy the Holidays!