Judy Dobles, General Management Consulting

YOUR TOUGHEST BUSINESS CHALLENGES SOLVED.

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  • A while ago, at a family gathering, one of my nieces or nephews was expressing disappointment with something that happened at school. It certainly sounded familiar to me – the growing pains of a teenager in high school. My brother-in-law, John, quipped in reply, “You are over it.”

    My mind immediately shifted to the workplace and the many people in the organization I led. This time, instead of a teenager, it was employees who would express disappointment or concern over various issues. Many times the disappointment or concern was the same one, over and over again.

    I decided to adopt my brother-in-laws comment, “You are over it”, as a way to respond and start a meaningful dialogue. My intention was not to be flippant, but rather to create a coaching opportunity. Over my career, I have found if you dwell on things you cannot change or you complain without taking action, your energy can be depleted quite quickly.

    The coaching lesson for everyone was simple. Here is what I would say, “I understand you are frustrated. Is there any action you can take to resolve the situation?” If the answer was yes, then we would discuss how to actually go about it.

    If the answer was no, we would talk about how nothing in life is 100% perfect or happy. It is also helpful to remember that in baseball a good average is 300 not 1000. When you are doing hard work and driving change, you cannot expect agreement every step of the way. My personal rule of thumb is 75%, intuitively not mathematically derived. Together, we would talk about where the individual felt they were. Were there a lot of good things they just were not recognizing or did they feel thwarted at every turn? Regardless of where they were personally, each conversation ended with a positive path forward. Each conversation was a start of a dialogue and got everyone understanding that when faced with an obstacle you either figure a way to get over it or get around it. It does no good to stand there, powerless, and complain about it.

    I tell my brother-in-law that I quote him frequently at work and it generates positive energy and direction for the team. He laughs, stating he did not realize he was famous. I continue to look for life lessons no matter what I am doing, because great advice can come from anywhere.

    What is the best advice you have every received?

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