I recently watched a movie called “Water for Elephants”.
A circus owner buys an elephant and expects the elephant to behave and obey his order in and outside of the ring. The circus owner makes the elephant part of his show and orders her around. The elephant does not obey the orders, the owner pokes her harshly with bull horn before she runs out of the ring. The owner is angry and then beats her badly with the bull horn. She is badly wounded and in a lot of pain. This is when, accidentally the “Hero” of the show discovers that the elephant does not understand English but was previously trained in another language. From there on, the story was sorted out and kind of had a happy ending.
This reminded me of various situations that I have witnessed where people are not talking in the same language – i.e. common intentions, perspectives or common understanding that both parties would appreciate. From this point onwards, most situations go downhill, even if it was for a short while.
The key lesson – talk in a language that the other person/team would understand. See the world from her perspective first before putting down a proposal of mutual benefit. When selling a solution, see the problem from a customer’s angle and then propose a mutually beneficial solution. The sale will certainly become easier then before. Before blaming or punishing a child, put yourself in that child’s shoes and think why he/she did what was done. This could lead a different conversation all together. As a project manager try to wear the glasses that a developer wears to see the challenge/world through her eyes and why something is taking longer than it should. May be, this will allow you to come up with a better solution and improve your relationship with that developer too!
Over the years in my consulting I have seen and used various methods to end a meeting. For most part when participating in a meeting there is no formal closing, you sit, hear, talk and that’s it. Some meeting chair summarised the action points for all the attendees and received an agreement and for rest of the meetings individuals summarised the action points themselves.
The closing round is worth doing, because it gives everyone, in a sense, a “last word”—the chance to get something off their chest that they might otherwise carry around or whisper to their colleagues later. It creates more mindfulness about what just happened—and how things might go better next time. And it lets you know where the group is at emotionally, as well as potential issues to follow up on that weren’t strictly part of the proceedings.
Above all, closing rounds are usually fun and positive. Jokes are made. Thanks are given. Excitement is expressed. In my book, that’s a better way to end than a general trailing off or listing of action items.
The emphasis added are mine. It is important to get things out of your chest and move on with business rather than engaging in water cooler gossip later on. It is also worth sharing and absorbing the positivity (or constructive criticism for that matter) at the end of a tough meeting and get on with the business of getting things done.
Read this story, what is the message that it provides you?
Who’s the King?
The lion was completely convinced about his dominance of the animal kingdom. One day he wanted to check whether all the other animals knew he was the undisputed king of the jungle. He was so confident that he decided not to talk to the smaller creatures. Instead he went straight to the bear. “Who is the king of the jungle?” asked the lion. The bear replied, “Of course, no one else but you, sir.” The lion gave a great roar of approval.
He continued his journey and met the tiger. “Who is the king of the jungle?” The tiger quickly responded, “All of us know that you are the king.” The lion gave another roar of pleasure.
Next on his list was the elephant. He caught up with the elephant at the edge of a river and asked him the same question, “Who is the king of the jungle?” The elephant trumpeted, lifted his trunk, grabbed the lion, threw him in the air and smashed him into a tree. He fished him out of the tree and pounded him into the ground, lifted him up once more and dumped him into the river. Then he jumped on top of the lion, dragged him through the mud, and finally left him hanging in some bushes. The lion, dirty, beaten, bruised, and battered, struggled to get to his feet. He looked the elephant sadly in the eyes and said, “Look, just because you don’t know the answer, there’s no reason for you to be so mean-spirited about it.”
I loved the post from Seth about ‘Deadlines’. I don’t like the word myself. I find it negative although it’s intention it to move forward. Instead I like the ‘Deliverable Due Date’ [although it’s long].
Yes, setting up a date is important. It makes us take actions. A very common due date by which we act regularly is paying bills.