Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Have a problem? Discuss it ...

It never seems to amaze me, how many business conflicts can be handled by just talking to someone. Case in point, today an organization we partner with did not give our organization proper credit in an article. A series of e-mails flew and from what I could tell, a lot of feathers were ruffled and no satisfactory solution was not reached. In a brief conversation with my counterpart in that organization, she asked how could the problem be resolved. Within a minute we found a solution and everyone is happy.

In analyzing this, a couple of misperceptions became very clear -

1) They did it on purpose - What I found out was just the opposite, they were more than willing, all they needed was guidance on what we want.

2) It should be important to them - What's high priority and a large item to us, may not be the same priority to them. Individuals may be totally unaware of our perceived importance.

3) Sending an e-mail will resolve the problem - I'm amazed how problems escalate via e-mail. Words and tone via e-mail is subject to interpretation and in most cases the interpretation is negative. In talking with our management consultant I got the guidance that e-mails should be only for exchanging factual information. Exchange emotional charged information (i.e. potential conflict) in person or via the phone. It's OK to use e-mails to acknowledge someone.

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