I was in the middle of the biggest deal of my life. I had successfully negotiated 9-figure terms with the top executives in a multi-billion dollar public company. Due diligence was underway.
I started to zero in on my target. I wasn’t going to let anything or anyone divert me. Total. Focus.
My mum would call; I was too busy to talk. My partner needed some attention; sorry I’m doing this for us. My CTO missed an email from the team because we were playing video games; I berated him. A senior engineer didn’t want to move his family to the US; WTF come on dude. My investors wanted to change the acquisition instrument for financial reasons; don’t #@%&ing mess with $#!^.
Maybe if the deal had closed all would have been forgotten. And maybe not. In any case, unnecessary conflict had done damage to important business and personal relationships.
Fortunately my coach was courageous and honest enough to point out my part in the conflicts. I realized that I had been treating people as obstacles, obstacles between me my goal.
We see our goal, it’s tantalizingly close, we can smell it, almost taste it and someone else is doing something that we perceive as delaying our achievement or even blocking it completely. At this point there are two options:
- create conflict; or
- create alignment.
Seeing another person as an obstacle immediately creates conflict.
So, I hear you ask, how do I create alignment – how do I resolve the conflict I’ve created?
Here are the steps I’ve devised from my own personal experience, Co-Active Coaching Training, Steven Covey’s 5th habit of highly successful people and The Arbinger Institute’s Anatomy of Peace.
- recognize that you are seeing the person you are in conflict with as an obstacle – you see your goals or pain as more important than their’s;
- see them as a person rather than an obstacle by getting curious about their goals or pain and what’s important to them (their values)
- notice the ways in which you’re an obstacle to their goals, increasing their pain or stepping on their values
- make a specific apology referencing what you’ve discovered in step 3
- notice where your values align and communicate that alignment to them
- now communicate your goals and ask for their help in achieving them
It’s not too late to repair the conflict you’re having with your investor, team member, partner, even your mother 😉