I was on a group conference call earlier today that had the potential of being a source of significant conflict. We knew going in that some people present had very opposing views on a matter that needed to be resolved today. Both sides could not possibly walk away getting what they came into the meeting wanting. While it’s always nice to seek a win-win resolution, sometimes that just isn’t possible. Sometimes, someone has to lose.
Fortunately, everyone was adult and civil in explaining their position. Everyone got to speak their mind and did so with respect for others. The matter was thoroughly debated.
Eventually we had to make a decision. I am glad that the group decision ultimately made was one I supported. I was very passionate about the issue and would have seriously disagreed with the opposing view as the final recommendation.
The learning moment for me, having resolved that issue, came in the remainder of the meeting discussing other less controversial matters. I sat there on the call hoping the time would pass quickly, intentionally not making any waves in other matters of lesser significance. To be honest, I was thinking “Jeff, you just won a significant case. Now keep your mouth shut.” And that’s pretty much what I did until the call ended.
The familiar advice to “choose your battles wisely” comes to mind related to today’s experience. Having to get your way on every matter that comes along just makes you a pain to deal with that others will quickly resent. Being passionate and standing firm for selective issues is quite a different matter. So know when to speak up, and know when to stop talking.
Leap year lesson #189 is Once you win your case, stop talking.