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You Had Me At Below

Caution_belowHave you ever had that "fight or flight" moment at the workplace?  How about that "gotcha" opportunity with a colleague, where you can nail his hide to the wall once and for all?  What about that "irrefutable argument" that nobody would dare to debate?  Or my personal favorite... the "I told you so" dance?

Well, they deserve it, don't they?

Probably (at least in our minds they do).

But...

Think about the downstream impacts of this discussion you're about to have.  You might be winning the battle just to lose the war.  Think about what's going to happen BELOW the surface of your impending conversation.  What might be going through the other person's mind?  What kind of day might they be having?  What other projects or issues are weighing on them?

A former client and current friend told me that his job as an executive forces him to constantly assess these issues when having difficult conversations.  As a matter of fact, it was a discussion we were having recently that inspired this post.  His current role puts him in the position of having challenging talks all the time.  However, he has to weigh the present with the future (i.e., those "downstream impacts" I mentioned earlier).  What kind of relationship will he need to have with that person in the future?  I was reading a story in the paper this morning about Sharon Stone.  For her 50th birthday in March, she performed some spiritual house cleaning and removed all of the relationships that she did not deem beneficial to her.  That may be a little extreme.

Remember:  The outputs from today's conversation may be unwitting inputs to tomorrow's conversation.  Let's just think about what may be working below the surface when our relationships are running as smoothly as they could be, OK?

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