Custom Design the Way You Do BUSINESS
Surprise! He Doesn’t Behave Like I Would Expect
The truth is, in a business environment, there’s no longer time to make those little mistakes (that can turn into huge time-stealers) as we get to know each other. Want to avoid surprises and work more effectively and efficiently? It’s time to custom design our business relationships to fit everyone involved, making the day-to-day experience effortless.
When most people meet me they would describe me as, “a laid back, go-with-the-flow, easy-does-it, kind of guy,” and they’d be right, most of the time. When I’m creating the environment for an event or client meeting a very different side of me comes out to play. Don’t get me wrong, the go-with-the-flow, easy-does-it part of me is running in the background, AND the purposeful, driving director in me steps up and takes center stage. When my director shows up, it often takes people by surprise and can make them wonder if something is wrong. That’s why I’ve found it critical to create a Blueprint of WE Collaboration Document for all my working relationships.
My business partner and wife, Maureen K. McCarthy, and I were in Calgary, Canada facilitating a 5-day conference for 200 executives of a Fortune 50 company. When we’re working with clients, it’s often just the two of us getting ready and holding space for all that needs to come together. At our larger events, we will hire support staff to help us set up the logistics and take care of the details in the background. A well-designed, supportive environment can make or break the success of an event or conference.
For this particular conference we decided to hire a good friend of ours named MJ. She’s someone we hadn’t worked with before, but we knew her organizing skills were excellent and she always paid attention to detail. As with all our business relationships, we created a Blueprint of WE Collaboration Document at the beginning of our work with MJ. When we custom design how we’ll work together, and talk through each other’s Interaction Styles at the beginning, there are no surprises. We can quickly avoid the “stepping on eggshells” phase of learning how the other person works which can slow down or even halt the work at hand. In this case, it was crucial.
MJ had only known me as the “laid back, go-with-the-flow” guy I described earlier. In our Blueprint of WE Document, when we talked about how the director in me shows up, it was at a calm time, before the event began and we were in the thick of things. We also talked through how we could work together and best engage her detail and organizational skills to the fullest. On the morning of the first day of the conference, we were setting up the room and I stepped fully into my director persona. With no preamble or pleasantries, we quickly went to work. I don’t think MJ had ever seen me move so quickly and decisively, or speak so succinctly and directly. If I hadn’t clued her in to my no-nonsense style, she might have heard my to-do’s as demands or orders, or thought my change in demeanor meant I was upset with her. Instead, we breezed through the set-up and the conference began in fine style.
I heard from her later that even with our Blueprint of We Collaboration Document clarifying conversation, it was something she’d never seen in me before, and her mind could have jumped to the conclusion that I was unhappy with the way she was working (even though that was not the case). Thankfully with the Blueprint of We, we worked extremely well in concert.
“If we didn’t have our Blueprint of We and clarifying conversation before we started, I would have freaked out when we got to work. I’m so glad I knew ahead of time how we would be working together, or it could have been a disaster.” - MJ Hogan
If MJ had become frustrated, or flustered when I stepped into my director mode, our actions could have been delayed or derailed and the conference would not have run so smoothly. If I had felt tension or stress, I wouldn’t have been at my best for the client. Without our Blueprint of WE, my relationship with MJ and the client would have suffered. At the end of the conference the top executive who hired us was very pleased with how the conference had gone and he was excited to hire us back the next year.
By Building the Blueprint of Me and Exchanging the Blueprint of We, we’re able to work faster and get down to business sooner than if we skipped that crucial conversation at the beginning of a project or working relationship. It may not seem that you have time to create a Blueprint of WE Collaboration Document when you’ve got a fast approaching deadline and you want nothing to stop you from getting the work completed. But that’s exactly when it makes the biggest difference. Taking the time up front to custom design your working relationship, leads to greater efficiency and effectiveness, reducing the work involved and the time it takes because you’re not stepping on each other’s toes. Keep your key relationships healthy and resilient, and you’ll be prepared for success ~ and you won’t be surprised!