In my job, service and execution is all that matters. People both expect and depend on us. When they think that we have not delivered things begin to unwind. The first questions I ask centers on facts. Did we fail to get the job done? If we did, what could we have done and what should we do to let the client know?
Depending on when/where, I come with a bias. In an established location, I usually find a strong element of truth in the client’s issue. In locations with new capabilities, the facts hide in someone’s perceptions.
There are two recurring themes. First, do those involved want to know and understand the facts? Frequently the answer is no. They simply want the problems to go away. Second, how does one respond to complex situations with simple answers? Is there a way of knowing fact from fiction?
I wish that my clients were the only ones with the dilemma. Internally the questions go unanswered. I struggle with this as an individual that sees more than I am willing to admit or deal with. As I untangle myself from the crisis du jour, I find myself coming back to two mantras.
Life is rarely as complicated as I want to think it is. As I begin to comprehend the problems and challenges holistically, I find that there are simple themes threading through each. It is not always easy to see them. Listening and reflecting is often the key to understanding. Responding first is never the answer.
Discerning fact from fiction is often easier than it seems. Is the person making the complaint willing to explain and be part of the solution? If they are, the truth is rarely far away. Even good intent and evil can be seen. Old wisdom still prevails; “Here’s how you tell the difference between God’s children and the Devil’s children: The one who won’t practice righteous ways isn’t from God, nor is the one who won’t love brother or sister. A simple test.” (1 John 3.10)
Measures are more than just judgment.