Tag Archives: real issues

A Little Knot in the Stomach

“In the heat of the moment,” I started, “you may not have had the words or the stomach for it, so you adjourned the meeting.  But, this team will have to gather again.  When?”

“Wednesday,” Ron replied.  “We meet every Wednesday.”

“And, the team had an entire week to ruminate about the conflict last Wednesday. What do you think their mental state will be when you reconvene the group?”

“Well, I hope things will have settled down between the two managers, we can let bygones be bygones and get on with the agenda,” Ron said.

“Does your team have that short of a memory?” I asked.

Ron was quiet. “No, they will all be thinking about the altercation last week.”

“An altercation which has not been discussed since, at least that is what you hope.” My turn to pause. “But, you can bet there has been plenty of discussion outside of that conference room. They are not unspoken words, they are just unspoken in public, with the group. What are you pretending not to know?”

“I don’t know how the team will respond if we bring it back up. We might get a repeat performance and be right back where we were last week,” Ron grimaced.

“And, how will people’s stomachs be feeling if you bring it back up?” I asked.

“My stomach is in a knot right now, just thinking about it.”

“Then, you know you are dealing with a real issue.”

Comfortable with Discomfort

The armed and dangerous team tackles the tough issues. Its members run toward the fire, not away from it. Armed and dangerous teams become comfortable with discomfort. The pit of discomfort often holds the real issue.

When a team is comfortable and in total agreement, there is high likelihood they are not dealing with an issue of high consequence. It is only when there is disagreement and debate, where the team is in discomfort, that important issues are on the table.

How the Team Avoids an Issue

“How do I know, working with my team, when we are dealing with a real issue?” Deana wanted to know.

“How does your stomach feel?” I asked.

“It feels fine,” she replied with a quizzical look.

“Then, we are just having polite conversation,” I nodded. “Have you ever sat in a meeting when someone said something that made you feel uncomfortable?”

Deana’s eyes glanced to the ceiling, then back to the conversation. She nodded with me. “Yep. We were working on a big project, tight deadline, behind schedule, angry client. In the meeting, the project manager jumped all over the ops manager, accused him of manipulating the project schedule to cover up the ops team being late. It was kind of creepy. Usually if someone has a beef with somebody else like that, they talk about it in private.”

“What impact did that have on the discussion?”

“Everything stopped. My manager was in the room. She called a halt to the meeting, said if they couldn’t get along, they would have to leave the meeting.”

“Then, what happened?”

“Everyone shut up and moved on to talk about the next project. It was under control, so things calmed down so we could finish our meeting.”

“So, what do you think was the real issue? And how did your stomach feel?” I prodded.

“So, if the conversation has my stomach doing flip-flops, then the team is probably facing a real issue?”

“And, did your team deal with the issue, or did they avoid it and move on?”

Working Leadership comes to Austin TX. For more information, follow this link.
Here are the dates –

  • Session One – Aug 25, 2017, 1-4:30p
  • Session Two – Sep 1, 2017, 1-4:30p
  • Session Three – Sep 8, 2017, 1-4:30p
  • Session Four – Sep 18, 2017, 1-4:30p
  • Session Five – Sep 22, 2017, 1-4:30p
  • Session Six – Sep 28, 2017, 9a-12p

For registration information, ask Tom.