As a professional consultant, a business coach, or just a human being (I prefer human “doing”, but that is a different blog!) I often have the opportunity to improve a situation by connecting two disconnected components (aka: elements, parts, stakeholders, people, factors, features, items, etc...) ‘Be’ the plus sign!
Let me give you an example. I recently participated in a project planning meeting with a client team. This was our fourth meeting on the subject. Six hours invested and we were having the same discussion as the previous three meetings. Everyone knew this and the reason was obvious. Well, obvious to everyone except the two executives sponsoring the project – who just could not reach consensus or support one another.
Approximately 45 minutes into this meeting and after trying every technical , diplomatic and facilitation trick I could conceive of using in this setting, I decided it was time to stop talking about the project and to talk about the issue, their relationship. I gently stood up and asked these two truly wonderful and brilliant people “do you two ever feel like you speak different languages?”, simultaneous reply was “YES!”;“Do you feel like you are consistently fighting each other?” emphatic response “YES”. Unfortunately this blog is not about the character identification and relationship building techniques that I shared with them over the next 15 minutes or how that was delivered (perhaps another good blog topic), but it is about the results of that discussion. The upshot was that my job was to get these two leaders on the same page so the team could reach our meeting objectives. I had tobecome the plus sign in the above diagram, or the 3rd point of a relationship triangle.
Once I focused on the relationshp instead of the project these leaders got on the same page, and we met our objectives.
When we look at any situation and ask ourselves ‘what are the next two things that need to come together and how can I help’ – then we truly step up our game, become a problem solver and a valuable member of the team.