Eight years ago on a snowy day, I met with Nancy, a director of a government agency. Driving to the meeting, I received a phone call from Tonya, Nancy’s administrative assistant. Tonya wanted to let me know that it would not be an easy meeting. Three change management consultants like myself had already met with Nancy and she didn’t like any of them.
Interesting, I thought. I had no idea what to do with this information. Should I recite a list of my credentials? Turn around? Stop and pick up a shield and armor and slip it in my briefcase? Where do they sell shields and armor locally?
When I arrived, Nancy was quite considerate and provided an avalanche of background. She talked about low motivation, lack of trust, and lack of vision.
When Nancy finished, I asked, “How are you contributing to these problems and this culture?” Nancy sat back, looked at me with curiosity and said in earnest, “I don’t know.” A few seconds later she added, “No one has ever asked me that.”
Then she repeated under her breath, “No one has ever asked me that.”
We are all co-creators in every situation we are in. When we receive criticism, we have either done something to show arrogance or spend too much time with critics. When we receive anger, we have either done something provocative or we allow anger to whirl around unchecked. When we receive ongoing anger or criticism, we must ask ourselves, “How and when will I change my environment (the people I spend time with), or will I change my reaction?”
When people are kind and respectful of us, it is because we project kindness and self-respect.
What situations do you co-create both at home and at work?