As the presentation began, I had no idea how the audience was going to respond. I only knew two in the decision making group. I was meeting the rest for the first time on the conference call. I did not recognize voices and the nuances that one begins to hear with familiarity. I had no idea who has spoken to whom in advance. This conversation was going to be blind.
My hope going in was that facts and rationale minds would carry the decision. If they did not, I was already struggling with how I would let them know what I believed would happen. If this discussion, the best one can hope for is to break even. Messengers with bad news are still killed. I knew I had to be this messenger, regardless of the risk. Anticipated outcomes were secondary to my responsibilities to the client and shareholder.
I listened to the rationale being expressed by unknown colleagues. While many were coherent, they took me to very different vistas. Through their eyes, I could see stronger ways of expressing our logic. With their perspectives, the case was more compelling.
The facts were the same. The way they were seen, very different.
I caught myself looking in on the story while living it. I imagine others have done this before me. When a commander wrote a letter, his perspective of recent history was unique. “From Claudius Lysias, to the Most Honorable Governor Felix: Greetings! I rescued this man from a Jewish mob. They had seized him and were about to kill him when I learned that he was a Roman citizen. So I sent in my soldiers.” (Acts 23.25, 26) Several facts were ignored, however the crux of the story remained.
With support from several, the key decision makers endorsed our recommendation. It was a wise choice founded on the perspective of a community. I realize I can see more because of them. With their wisdom, I can work to improve my work going forward. Insight can be a powerful partner if I am willing to listen.