You Don’t Say


One of our exercises in Crucial Conversations training was to “think of a person who is really frustrating to work with,” and to describe in writing a recent interaction with that person in terms of what was actually said, and what you were thinking or feeling but didn’t say.

My responses included the following:

What I Actually Said
This project presents some unique challenges.
What I Didn’t Say
I have a lot of experience managing IT projects, but not in running a day care center or a mental institution, which is what this project requires.
What I Actually Said
That’s not quite the way I would have phrased it.
What I Didn’t Say
Everyone else in these meetings seems to feel constrained by a sense of professionalism and decency that you appear not to possess.

One of my colleagues at our table of four claimed that based on those responses, she could identify the person I was writing about.

Since she and I and the person in question have never worked on anything together, I said she couldn’t, but much to my amazement, she did.

Post navigation

  2 comments for “You Don’t Say

  1. PE
    12 Sep 2008 at 11:53 am

    Another colleague just walked into my office and confidently and correctly identified this person.

    This is either a) a tribute to my ability to capture the essence of a person in a two-line character sketch; or b) a black mark on our organizational ability to filter recognizably insane people out of the talent pool.

    Or c) both.

  2. MS
    12 Sep 2008 at 10:24 pm

    I’m going to go with c), although I have to note that I happen to think that sometimes insane people can be creative geniuses with tremendous talent. That’s most definitely not the situation in this case. I too think I can identify this person.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *