It’s not about you

By Mike Klockenbrink

You’re called into a meeting to discuss a problem or situation. You are just one component somehow involved in a process that isn’t going the way it’s supposed to.

Even before you get to the meeting your brain is racing. What is my role in all of this? Am I doing everything I’m supposed to? Am I in trouble? It’s amazing to me how many times we instantly go on the defense. It’s that part of that lizard brain I hear author Seth Godin talk about so much. The lizard brain is known as the Limbic System. It’s the part of the brain takes over in a flight or fight situation, survive at all cost.

So you get to the meeting with several other people connected to this process. The process is laid out and you start to discuss the areas where it’s broken down. After a while everyone is heavily involved in the discussion. Together you realize that someone isn’t properly trained in part of the process. There are assumptions made, and you know where that leads. This person didn’t have particular rights. This person was waiting for this person and so on.

Now that we understand where the break down happened, areas of miscommunication and assumptions occurred, we can fix the process. We clarify who is going to do what, we give individuals the tools needed to complete the task and clearly define who, what, when, where and why of the process. Everyone agrees and you leaving the meeting feeling like you accomplished something together.

Somewhere during that process you realize, it’s not about you, it’s about the process. Once you realize that, you switch from defense to offense looking for solutions with the team. I have found that it is rarely about you and usually about the process.

If you’re the one calling the meeting on fixing the process, save the team unneeded anxiety by clearly stating what the meeting is about. You are looking to this group to help you solve a process problem. Let them know this meeting is not about them, it’s about the process.

Mike Klockenbrink is chief of staff at Lakeside Church, Folsom, CA. []


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