Monday, November 24, 2008

This Has No Place in the Work Place

Early in a recent retreat, while teaching Clear Talk and Issues Clearing…two tools that are part and parcel of virtually everything I do… a high-powered CEO stated “This is all well and good here at this retreat, but it has no place in the work place.”

My response… “Interesting comment. Are you willing to own that as your opinion… your judgment?”

Ha! “If I were an employee of his, I would have just been fired…” was the story I started to make up. It was clear that he was unaccustomed to being challenged in this way.

Unfortunately, my experience with too many CEO’s is that the “un-owned assertion” is to be viewed as Truth (with a capital “T”) if it comes from their position at the top of the food chain. Hmm. I don’t buy it.

In truth, it was his opinion. And, I respect it as such. Just his opinion at that moment in time. After an initial sputter, he came back with a clear “yes” to my question. We moved on.

Interestingly, he called me three days after the conclusion of the retreat. “I was wrong”, he said. “I came back and first thing Monday morning shared the Issues Clearing Model with my team. It was a hit. Thanks for pushing back and asking me to own my judgment. It gave me the space to become curious and consider a different point of view.”

“I was wrong…” Maybe that’s one reason he’s worth millions.

What judgments do you make that you might want to own as simply your judgments?