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Dealing with Dave

Optimize Blog - February 28, 2012 - 0 comments

The meeting has already gone an hour over its scheduled time. The participants are restless, eager to close the discussion, make a decision, and leave to get on with some real work. But Dave refuses to end the discussion until he’s restated his position at least a couple more times. By now, everyone else in the room has identified the areas of agreement and disagreement and are ready to tackle the problems. If Dave had only taken a few minutes to listen, instead of relentlessly promoting his own agenda, he might have realized an hour ago that no one was disagreeing with his main points. The participants could have hammered out an agenda that everyone could at least live with.
Any of this sound familiar? Dave’s abound in the business world, wasting time arguing moot points, obstructing processes, and alienating themselves from their colleagues. Continually circling, repeating the same view over and over again, the Dave’s of this world create unnecessary drag to the frustration of the rest of us. By taking the time to understand other people’s agendas and perspectives, Dave could have increased his effectiveness on the job and gained the respect of his peers and paved the way for some meaningful action.
Demonstrating your willingness to look at all sides of an issue to arrive at goals that are mutually beneficial can increase your chances of achieving personal, group, and organizational goals.
Managers who have to win every battle, even at the expense of others, reduce their overall effectiveness as well as their influence in the organization. Because they are so busy championing their own agendas, they may not be aware of the needs or agendas of others. Or, if they are aware of them, these managers tend to ignore the agendas that are contrary to their own.
You can increase your influence and foster greater cooperation by learning when it is appropriate to assert your agenda and when to set it aside for negotiation. Knowing in advance how people are likely to respond to your agendas or action plans is essential for your success. Being prepared for reactions or resistance ensures a stronger presentation and defense of your position. For example, if you know that your manager feels strongly about a particular topic, you can present ideas related to that topic in a way that will show their alignment with your manager’s position.
Accurately anticipating others’ reactions shows your respect for them and allows you more flexibility to compromise.
Don’t be a Dave – listen with your ears and not your mouth. Take meeting productivity seriously and choose your battles.

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