Being Right, or Being Collaborative?

     Wednesday afternoon I received an email regarding a client from an underwriter.  She had one accurate
point, which required a change to program but didn't impact what the client had been offered or will receive.  She then went on to belabor a couple of points in documentation that would be required.  Unfortunately for her, the documentation she wanted was already there. After making her first decision, she never looked at the rest of the file.  I responded directly and not as kindly as I should have and a third party kindly alleviated the stress in the morning.  In part, both of us had been right but not willing to give ground on our points.

     On Tuesday as an instructor for Cornerstone Alliance's Women's Business Center entrepreneurship classes I'd attended graduation for several women whose businesses are about to start and will do very well.  The keynote address was from Joan Smith of Smith-Dahmer Associates. In 2009 they were named the Merlin Hanson Exemplary Business Leader in the region. In 2007 they were named one of the top 50 small businesses to watch in Michigan.  The client list is highly impressive.  Smith's talk though was about overcoming a need to be right.

     "We grow up needing to have the right answers for the test on Friday," Smith stated in part.  "The problem with operating and thinking that we always have to be right is that we're constantly telling everyone else around us that they're wrong.  That's not a very good way to develop relationships or solutions."

      It's a great piece of wisdom that some days I follow, and other days I miss completely when my "justice" nerve kicks off.  Thursday morning I apologized for being short the afternoon before.  Today and moving forward I'm going to take a walk outside the building before I return to hit "send" or pick up the phone when that nerve gets tweaked again.

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