Waiting for a Crisis to do Something Seems Kinda Dumb

In speaking with a new networking connection, I was telling her that my speaking or training aims to help people create more collaborative environments. She told me that she didn’t need my services because she didn’t have any toxic environments to fix at the moment.

She was surprised at my response.

I told her that I wasn’t looking for toxic environments. I work with functional environments that want to be even better. My programs are meant to empower people to have the information for better communication and collaboration.

She told me that I had a very different approach to conflict. But really, we simply seem to prioritize differently.

There are different mindsets at play here. People do make decisions more quickly from a reactive mindset. I simply told her that I am more preventative towards conflict by giving people tools they need to create more collaborative cultures.

Have you heard of the pain / pleasure principal? 

Timing is a huge factor in how we respond to stimuli. Is the pain immediate? Do I have to wait to gain benefits?

For example, think about taxes. In January, the pleasure of crossing it off the to-do list is low versus avoiding the pain of putting together all those damn papers. But at the end of March…ouch!

Immediate stimuli get our attention more easily. It’s the same when we are evaluating our businesses.

Whether we are weighing the benefits of hiring someone else or investing in a training program for our existing members of our team, we start with short term implications.

Comparing the mindsets

Let’s say I approached you to hire me as a trainer but there’s not apparent toxic arguing happening. There is no crisis to react to, just like doing taxes in January.

Here are some examples of things that you might say to yourself.

  • This will take my employees away from their work so productivity for that time will be lost.
  • Communication training may unearth things I would rather not be talking about right now.
  • This will cost the company money.

Choosing long term pleasure looks more like this:

  • People will return to their desk with new skills and renewed energy.
  • Performance and output will increase when people collaborate better.
  • A pleasant work culture will increase retention numbers.
  • There will be less time and energy lost gossiping, complaining and blaming.

The cost of waiting

A VP of HR recently told me that one of her employees once cost her department $50,000 in legal fees to defend themselves against a false complaint to the union.

People are not mean. They are reacting to their environment based on what they are assigning their priorities to. I teach what those priorities are versus the other guy’s and help people bridge the gap so that people know what to do to be more collaborative.



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