Earlier this week we launch a new capability. Big launches often bring challenges that one did not anticipate. This was no exception. Many of the things that we thought might go wrong, did not. There have been surprises. As we worked through these, there was a cascade impact on our clients. The teamwork has been excellent. Everyone has been committed to making things go smoothly. I have found myself growing more patient with the conversations, if only to understand the heart of potential problem.
I often forget how important prologues are. They set the context of what will follow. They provide color and texture to the story that is about to unfold. However, they are not the story. Even as I react to the prologues, I find myself thinking through familiar stories. Each was a set-up to follow. At the beginning of a critical meeting, a character introduced the man in the spotlight.
“Festus said, “King Agrippa and distinguished guests, take a good look at this man. A bunch of Jews petitioned me first in Jerusalem, and later here, to do away with him.” (Acts 25.24)
One might think they know what is going to unfold. One might, yet this week reminds me that as important as prologues are, they are not the heart of the story. Some have needed to remind me that they play important roles. Others stressed how critical their relationships with clients are to our success. A few have reminded me of the value they see in my organization. Each introduction, when heard, opens of door of insight and understanding.
My natural reaction is to rush through prologues. I want to get to the heart of the conversation! I need to hear the punch line and get moving to a resolution.
This week I have been forced to slow down. I have discovered new friends and allies. In listening, I have found that a potential disagreement was an opportunity for building a new partnership. Prologues may not be story’s heart, however they are keys to connecting with the person behind the words.