Showing posts with label conflict. Show all posts
Showing posts with label conflict. Show all posts

Friday, February 28, 2020

Keeping Score

I was at a meeting recently with my mentor and friend, Paul Martinelli.  He said something in that meeting that has had me reeling and searching through my memories.  He said, “You have to stop before you begin keeping score.  When you keep score, it leads to the three R’s:  Resistance, Revenge, and ultimately Resentment.”  He said when you start going down the relationship hole of you did this and I did that and you begin to tally the results, it leads to you withholding or retaliating until the threshold of resentment is reached.  Once resentment has set in, it is extremely difficult to hold on to the relationship.

From a context perspective, I am a data driven person.  Not necessarily to keep tally of score, but to look for trends and patterns to help find areas of improvement in business processes.  I even wrote a chapter in my book called “Data Rules All…”  This conversation made me reflect on my past teachings and determine if some of my project failures came from tallying data.

I realized this is not the case.  Data collection and trend analysis is paramount to improvement.  What I learned through reflection is in how we use the data.  I started to go back to the painful projects.  The ones that still can keep me up at night if I think about them.  I read through some of my old documents and looked at them through this light.  When a project does go bad, or at least is starting to, it is typical to reflect and begin to prepare your cover.  However, I could tell in many of those documents, revenge and some resentment was flowing through.  Especially when you start to write documents with dates and things that have occurred.  I ask you as the reader to reflect on some of the more tumultuous times and determine were you simply seeking revenge, or did you resent the person or company that you were dealing with?

As I was contemplating this, I had an opportunity recently to put it in action.  We had a development project that was not going as planned for a variety of reasons.  It was certainly shared by both sides; however, the client was growing increasingly angry.  I then received the email that had dates and what they saw us do wrong.  My old behavior would be to fill in the blanks of dates and the rest of the story.  I immediately felt myself go into the mode of keeping score.  Yes, we had delays, but you caused XX number of days as well.  Quickly I realized this feeling and started to ask myself a few questions.  Did I want to keep this customer?  Yes.  Was the relationship more important than my ego or being right?  Yes.  Whether I proved my point or just accepted the blame, would they still do business with us?  Not sure.  That is where I started.

When we got on the call, the first thing I said that it was all on me.  I will take the hit.  Here is where we are and here is where we will be in this time.  I stated that I didn’t want to go through all of the history because all that would do is cause us to defend each other’s position and would not serve the project.  So here is where we are, what would you like to do?  The tension immediately waned.  All parties went into problem solving mode and positive momentum was gained.

I do not advocate that this is the appropriate approach for all occasions.  What I do advocate is to think of Paul’s poignant words and look through that filter before you make any decisions on how to go forward.

No Day But Today,