The conversations towards the end of the day were increasingly frustrating. We are worked hard to reach a broad consensus. Our investment reflected our intent to be inclusive. The dialogue the followed led to a recommendation that I believed carried the endorsement of key players in all levels of the organization.
The decision, specifically in the fine print, was arbitrary and without logic. How could this have happened? What was going on? Even though we had articulated what was at risk, was anyone listening?
As I explored the details before reacting, I find a familiar story. One person, alone and without support, fronted the recommendation. While he believed that others in his community agreed with the recommendation, he was not going into the decision with conviction. The expedient way to move things forward was to compromise.
He did not know that we had not put any cushion in our recommendation. He was not aware of the debates that went into the numbers. He could not see the potential impact.
He was an old character in a play. In the heat of the moment, “Festus huddled with his advisors briefly and then gave his verdict: ‘You’ve appealed to Caesar; you’ll go to Caesar!’” (Acts 25.12) You want a compromise? You have a compromise!
I wish I had known that he was going into the discussion, especially if he felt alone.
I wish that I had the foresight to reach out and ask if he understood the background and what was at stake.
I wish many things. I know it is a two-way street. I understand how he could have reached out for help. Yet, I wonder if the rest of the organization is as innocent as we want to believe. Could we have done more? Could we have asked about the steps that followed our last conversation?
Today unfolds with conundrums and unknowns. I need to carry the learning from yesterday with me, taking a different course. I know we can make a difference. I also know that it will require fresh thinking and ways of behaving.