Finding Truth in Feedback…Damn it!


A few years ago I attended a yearlong intensive leadership program with 23 other participants led by Co-Active Training Institute. This program included four residential retreats as well as several homework projects that all focused on observing and learning about leadership impact.

I found this program to be extremely useful in helping me recognize and value my personal leadership styles and strengths. During this period, I developed the capacity to be effective in a wide range of circumstances and environments. Or so I believed.

I also became aware of my impact on others, learned to set intentions for an outcome, and to consciously create my desired impact and began to take responsibility for that impact in all aspects of my life.

Not an easy program.

One of the lessons I value most about this program was learning how to create something bigger by listening and being open to others input. We did a lot of exercises around collaboration and co-actively creating results with others. We learned a lot about collaboration as well as consensus decision-making. I will be the first to admit, I sometimes get frustrated when consensus decision-making is used. Mostly because it takes so long and I am still practicing patience toward others.

During one of these exercises, I called the leader to the side of the room, and let her know of my growing frustration that this was taking so long. I was impatient. “I don’t understand why we need to do so much talking around making a simple decision versus just making that decision and moving forward with it.” Can you hear my frustration?

Her response, ”Pat, I understand your desire to move through things quickly. I have witnessed your impatience to get things done fast. I have witnessed your satisfaction checking things off your ‘to do’ list, so I know you get a lot done. Have you ever considered that perhaps checking things off that ‘to do’ list so quickly means what you are getting done may be too small for you?

Perhaps, in listening to others, you will gain more insight, be open more ideas, and you will create something bigger than you would if you didn’t listen?”

When she said these words, I was fuming. How could she say I may be creating small things? Me? At that moment, I felt like walking out of the entire program. Truth is hard sometimes, and at that time, I absolutely knew she was right.

One of my key communication skills now is that I will listen and consider other peoples ideas, regardless of how long it takes. Because the end result is that now I create bigger things that allow me to play bigger games in my life.

What truth do you need to face to create those bigger games in your life?


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