The discussion about our capabilities was intense. All sides were represented. Sales and client managers represented the different customer segments. Business and product managers were present to defend and articulate their propositions. Operations, myself included, were available to explain the progress on the various issues. As we methodically went through the list, you could feel the emotional tension growing. Even those not physically present were riding the rollercoaster. The points shortened. There was a clear inflection at each finish.
It was as if each phrase was a dart. The tips were sharp. The throw reflected the visible intensity. I was glad that I was not the primary target. I was not exactly sure who was, but this was a situation looking to go bad.
I have seen this scenario repeat itself more than once, especially with this group and subject. It felt odd. Usually, operations was targeted or throwing a dart in response. In this case, we were the calm ones in the room! I wondered what I should do, if anything. Perhaps the best answer was to let the others metaphorically kill themselves.
My colleague took a page out of Paul’s playbook. “When the unbelievers got cantankerous and started bickering with each other, Paul interrupted: ‘I have just one more thing to say to you.’” (Acts 28.25) He interrupted, reminding them of our client and the shared intent to serve.
It was a masterful stroke at the right moment and time. You could feel the emotions turn towards Compassion and Caring. I wanted to stop and celebrate! This was awesome. We, everyone physically and virtually connected in this conversation, were moving into a harmonic pattern. Our disagreements did not diminish, however they turned into constructive dialogue. Our viewpoints moved beyond their differences into a complementing pattern to shape actions of change.
As we moved to more items, the pace picked up. Two of us recognized the shift. This was a moment I want to remember. I need to remember. Knowing he acted with compassion offers me the courage to see More in him, in others.