Know what’s behind you, but keep your focus on what’s ahead
Last Friday, I met with a staff of a small organization to review assessment results. It was a fun and rewarding time for me, because everyone was genuinely interested in learning more about themselves and each other. They were filled with probing questions that reflected their interest in looking ahead.
They understood that there were no “right” or “wrong” results, and that the reports indicated a person’s natural style and tendency. In fact, differences can be a huge advantage on a team; the important point is to have an awareness of a particular style and know how it may influence an interaction or task on a project.
About half of this team of 20 had worked together for many years. The others have joined the company more recently, a couple of them within the last few weeks. I respected the openness of this team to move past the known dynamics of the team members who have worked together for a long time. Rather than getting mired in how they “knew” someone would react to something, they eagerly explored the motivation of the reaction that they had previously experienced. They moved away from judging that reaction as “wrong” but explored how it could be useful to think about something differently.
It’s very easy to get frustrated with someone if that person has annoyed you in the past. Yet if we enter a new conversation with that same person, bringing with us a willingness to see another way, we will likely find there is value in the other person’s approach.
Even if you don’t change the process or the decision involved, it will absolutely help you have greater respect for the other opinion when you realize that the person has genuine intentions for the same things you want.
The way you get there may be different and there isn’t anything wrong with that.