Delaying the discussion...


Here's the thing about business travel — it's really an exercise in efficiency, and unless you are into that sort of thing, the whole activity really isn't that much fun.

It's all about how effectively you can get your ticket and how quickly (and easily) you can get through customs and security — all the while juggling various forms of identification, accessories and bags, belts, and shoes. Sure I was in Boston, but that meant I never really got any farther than a Logon airport hotel, and saw little more than the four walls of a conference room. Of course, that was after I missed my connector.

"It's the Captain from the flight deck. You may have noticed the gate is moving back into position... we have a warning light on and maintenance is going to check it out. We'll get back to you as soon as we can."

"It's the Captain again. Looks like this plane won't be going anywhere. The good news is we are having a new plane brought in and it should be at gate 32 in twenty minutes. We will de-boarding in a moment and I'll see you at gate 32 in about twenty minutes".

An hour and twenty minutes later we were in the air.

You rarely grumble when you travel for business but rather tend to gather your things, inform anyone who is impacted using one (or more) of the many communication tools available, and make your way to wherever you have to get to in the most direct way possible. In the case of this particular business travel experience, as I was collecting my things I couldn't help but overhear someone on the phone explaining his situation and then said something that reminded me of a very important truism —

" I really didn't want to miss being part of the discussion"

It wasn't so much that he was missing a meeting because that happens all the time, but his lament was that he's missing the opportunity to add his voice to the discussion. 

And here is the truism —

Anything (and everything) only gets better when you add your voice to the discussion.

Sure I will admit that it's sometimes difficult, but that makes it even more important.


PS: I ended up getting to the meeting on time, and had a far bit to say. (I think)

What do you see when you look at this picture?

The following is the original post and the rewrite can be found by clicking here.

There seems to be some question regarding this photograph.

Is it a pithy motivational saying for your wall; a commentary as to why many people miss opportunities; a reminder that nothing comes without hard work; or just a bad picture with a scratch?  The fact is it doesn't really matter what it is ... it really doesn't.

What does matter though, is the discussion as to what it is.

I am reminded of a story* told a while back about an executive team that was vigorously debating it's strategic direction and the Commercial Leader was adamantly opposed to the proposed line of thinking. The discussions went on and on and on... and on some more. Finally having heard enough, the CEO decided in favour of the proposal. In turn, the Commercial Leader simply said, "You have my total alignment and support. We will exceed expectations."

After the meeting, the Commercial Leader was asked how she could support something that she was so adamantly against. To that, the leader said what's important was her thoughts were heard and part of the discussion... all she could ask was to be part of the discussion, and once a decision is made, her job is to support that decision to the best of her ability and make it work. 

For me, the takeaways of the story are:

  • It is important to be part of the discussion as it makes for better decisions.
  • Involvement encourages buy-in and alignment.
  • Someone has to make a decision... it is the only way to get something done.
  • Once a decision has been made, you must support it to the best of your ability.

With regard to that photograph... I think it's a bad photograph with a scratch.

What do you think?


* The spirit of this story is good ol' business debate and does not involve illegal, unethical or nefarious issues.