I have seen this concept discussed in a number of ways and in a variety of contexts. And today, I was reminded of the importance of this concept in virtually every area of our lives. Specifically, I received feedback from a coaching client about how this concept had helped her in her professional life.
This particular person is a hard-working, intelligent, kind, and capable person. She, like many of us, has one or two challenging professional relationships. In her case, she likes, trusts, respects AND has a challenge with one of her colleagues.
Because they work in an environment that is dynamic and rapidly changing, she often has conversations on new projects, initiatives, and ideas. Sometimes, she does not think of every question to ask for clarity and understanding at the time of her initial conversation about new projects with this colleague. In the past in these situations, she found that she felt criticized and ridiculed when she had to go back for clarity a day or so later.
She knew that she needed clarity, and the feeling of being criticized when she went back to her colleague resulted in her avoiding the follow-up conversations.
In one of our coaching calls a few weeks ago, I suggested that she tell the person in advance that she might have further questions when she got back to her desk and that she would likely call the next day to get answers on these questions.
She has done that over the last few weeks, and today she reported that the quality of her interactions with her colleague has improved remarkably.
This communication strategy matches the concept of begin with the end in mind. By telling her colleague that she will likely have questions, she is:
- Establishing reasonable expectations with her colleague,
- Preparing her colleague to receive the call, and
- Showing that she is concerned with a positive outcome.
She has taken personal responsibility to change what she can change rather than going into a blaming mindset or set of behaviors with regard to her colleague. She has made a consistent and persistent effort to make sure that her communications are as clear as possible. She has embodied what this blog is all about: learning to get over your ego, fears, self-consciousness, and self-protective behaviors to do what needs to be done to have healthy, productive relationships in all areas of your life.
I won’t be sharing her name, but she knows who she is. Since I wasn’t personally present to observe her interactions over the last few weeks, I may have some of the details a little off. I think she’ll be okay with that. Mostly, I want her to know that I am proud of her efforts and her success, and I want the rest of my readers to learn from her example..