Result Orientation

by Himanshu Jhamb on November 13, 2009

resultsI was privy to an interesting exchange between two of my business associates the other day which led me to reflect upon what is it that people work for and how often they lose sight of what they are doing. The exchange went something like this:

P1: You don’t communicate clearly.

P2: Really? How come?

P1: Right now you are agreeing with what I am saying but that was not the case in your email.

P2: Yes. And what is the problem with that?

P1: You need to communicate clearly in your emails.

P2: Please understand that sometimes <whatever justification is being offered>

P1: Yeah, but it only happens in YOUR emails.

P2: Isn’t it also possible that it might be happening only to you?

Clearly, this is a typical disagreement conversation that is taking place between two people that is going downhill as quickly as a 100 tonne truck rambling down the downgrade with the brakes not working. There is obviously nothing wrong with the above conversation – It’s just that it is a Weak conversation. Weak because it is not oriented towards producing any result – it’s just a game being played between two individuals about who is right, wrong, superior etc. Notice how the conversation took a turn in the 3rd sentence – “Right now you are agreeing with what I am saying but that was not the case in your email”. Once the two folks have reached an agreement, what is left to talk about? The conversation is really over. Dissecting what was missing, incomplete or flawed in the email suddenly becomes irrelevant in the moment when it is declared “Right now you are agreeing with what I am saying”. PERIOD!

These are the conversations that take teams on a path of self destruction. It is important to understand and always bear in mind the question “For the sake of what.. are you doing… what… you are doing?” and use this question as the guiding light whenever you find your mind taking you into the dark tunnels of personal “Rights”, “Wrongs”, “Validations” and “Invalidations”. The same conversation becomes a powerful conversation had it simply gone like this:

P1: It was not clear from your email that <whatever it was that was not clear>

P2: Really? How come?

P1: That’s not really important because right now since you are agreeing with what I am saying and it seems to be sorted out…

P2: Great. I’d be open to hearing about what was unclear in the email at a later time, if you want to share.

Notice the stark difference.  The power comes from the fact that:

  1. The conversation is short and to the point.
  2. There is a mutual respect for each other and the two people seem to be “Sensitive” to creating a workable environment, even in the face of disagreement.
  3. The conversation is centered around “Producing a Result” and not on personal desires, beliefs, wants or preferences.
  4. The tone and the mood of the conversation remain positive and pleasant.

Take a moment to reflect upon the conversations you are having with others (… and also, yourself!). Are they oriented towards results or something else?

Himanshu JhambThis article was contributed by Himanshu Jhamb, co-founder of ActiveGarage and co-author of #PROJECT MANAGEMENT tweet. You can follow Himanshu on Twitter at himjhamb.

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