“I’ve never heard of it. They must be new or intentionally kept a secret.”
“Looks like I’m going to go toe-to-toe with her all year over this.”
“We’ve always done it in July. We’ve never done it in June.”
These are actual snippets of recent conversations. Each from a different person on a different topic representing their personal point-of-view on a particular subject. They would be easy to dismiss if they weren’t all related in some way.
What these comments represent is a singular focus; the world according to the speaker. Each comment was spoken in response to something that challenged their status quo. From their point-of-view, there is only one way…their way…to do something, followed by a dismissal of the truth and the lack of acknowledgement that there are other players in the game besides themselves.
Newsflash! Sometimes the status quo needs an update. It isn’t always all-about-you.
What about the customer?
In each of these cases, I was essentially the customer; the person to win over, the one to impress. Instead I was dismissed without a second thought or a conversation. I have the title, the authority and the experience to be credible, yet my point-of-view wasn’t considered at all. Each person held tightly to their singular view of the world. It was their perception that shaped their opinion.
Here is the challenge:
- In each of these cases, it was a man who was holding on to their one-way-only view.
- In each of these cases, I was trying to resolve an issue that each man created.
- All of the circumstances are unrelated.
I’m trying to figure out:
- Do the good old boys still hold sway?
- Am I being bullied?
- Is this push back because I challenged the status quo?
- Or, is this just plain arrogance or laziness?
Now, before you castigate me as some kind of man-hater, know that I am not. Some of my closest friends and confidants are men and my husband isn’t threatened by that. I am not trying to promote a personal political agenda either. I have no time and no interest for that. I will also say that it has been a really long time that I ran into anyone from the good old boys club, but evidence suggests that it still exists. What I am trying to do here work in the best interests of an organization in which I hold leadership responsibilities.
At its core, this is an issue of working with difficult people. Resolving issues with difficult people can be challenging. Because people are different, they see the world in their own way based on their education and experience. In truth, it can be difficult to part with long-held beliefs. I’ve wrestled with a few of my own.
While I’ve done my best to educate, listen to their objections and find mutually beneficial solutions, each of these people walked away holding tightly to their beliefs, changed nothing, leaving me to resolve issues they created with their singular, unrelenting point-of-view.
Perhaps, because I’m a marketer, I realize that everyone is a customer and the currency isn’t always money. Currency can be anything; good will, reciprocity or collaboration for the greater good. Just because no money exchanges hands doesn’t mean that there is no give-and-get.
When you do important work, do you think about the customer’s best interests? Or, do you rely on, “It’s the way it’s always been done?”
Perhaps it’s easier to look at things another way when money is exchanged. Money is a great equalizer. It opens us to negotiating. But, what about when the currency isn’t money? Are you unrelenting or can you work toward a mutually beneficial outcome?
Think about it the next time your long-held beliefs are challenged.
As for me, I’m also pretty good working behind the scenes to get things done. There’s more than one way to accomplish goals. Sometimes an end run around the objector works just fine too.
The status quo has been challenged and change is on the way. It’s going to take a little extra effort to work around the difficult people but the results will be worth it!