You’ve just gone into a meeting and no one is paying attention, they’re fiddling with their smartphones, jostling papers, thinking about the next cup of coffee or meal or bathroom break. Most are dreading being there at that moment. Note the environment. Is it warm, cold? Are the seats comfortable? How much time is left until lunch? What did these people do the night before and what do they have ahead of them?
Are you present?
The scene looks like this: sales are down, collections are slow and the purpose of this meeting is to get everyone on the same page. Ask yourself the following: What is their perspective? How do they view the problems at hand? Do they recognize the magnitude of the situation? Do they respect and honor the physical and verbal reality of the scene? Do you?
If you cannot answer those questions, or don’t think they are important to ask, then YOU are not respecting the physical and verbal reality of a scene, and will not be taken seriously.
Now you’re a consultant, or an employee, who needs to address a problem in the company that the CEO does not recognize or acknowledge. What’s their physical and verbal reality? How do they see and describe the situation? You know from experience that the way they’re doing things doesn’t work, but telling them that they’re doing it all wrong will alienate the client, end scene. This ultimately makes them feel like you don’t understand them. Honor and justify their physical and verbal reality. Only then can you begin suggesting alterations and accommodations. Then you can congratulate them on their accomplishments thus far with the way things have been running.
Validating their reality, incorporating their need to keep items, addressing the fear of letting go and continuing the scene in a positive fashion creates forward motion. If they think everything is rosy now and you are unable shake that, they are never going to embrace your potential solution or respect your judgment. Their reality is different than yours and you better honor it, or you’ll be out.