When I left my job, my colleagues threw a truly wonderful farewell party. It was just the right mix of obligatory tributes, heart-warming stories and gentle teasing about certain workplace peccadilloes.
In exchange for all the love, I offered up a list of Lynnisms, things people had been hearing me say for years. My rules of the road:
It’s all about the sequencing. It’s not just what you do, or how you do it, but when you do it that matters.
Things are rarely what they purport to be about. If it just doesn’t make sense that someone is so upset about something, they probably aren’t, and you need to figure out what is really eating at them and address that.
TFDIAS (The First Draft Is Always S***). Borrowed from Hemingway by way of a television writer who best articulated my belief that no writing is as good as we think it is in the first draft and that all work benefits from strong edits. (I used to keep this on a Post It on my keyboard, just to be sure I wouldn’t forget it.)
The goal is to come out with everyone’s dignity intact. Because life is full of enough confrontation and dispute and the only true solutions don’t have winners and losers.
They care enough to complain. A gentle reminder that complaints are the gift of an opportunity to improve – proof that people haven’t given up on you and that they believe in your power to fix things.
To what end? For those times when you really need to know why.
…and, When in doubt, take a walk.