Are you playing a game you can’t win?

In my two previous columns, I shared powerful tools to help you become a far more effective communicator.
By using these tools on a consistent basis, you’ll enhance your communication skills and ability to create greater understanding between you and those in your life and business. With greater understanding comes the opportunity to identify any areas where you lack alignment with those around you.

Alignment refers to the degree to which people’s perspectives and behaviors match up. They do not need to align completely — in fact they never do. However, there must be enough alignment so that people can travel a path in life and business where there are fewer obstacles to overcome. Alignment in purpose, intention, attitude and behavior makes for great partnerships of all kinds. Lack of alignment in these areas can create major obstacles to happiness and success.

Each of us is unique in how we see ourselves and our life and how we go about addressing our reality. This need not be a “problem,” though, as it is merely the truth of our existence together. And we can use this truth to our advantage by learning to accept the commonalities and differences that exist between ourselves and others, then work forward from there. Coming to terms with our commonalities and our differences, without negative judgment, allows us to make the conscious choice of whether or not to continue with a relationship.

Most of the obstacles we face in relationships of all kinds are born of our misunderstandings of each other, which lead to unfounded assumptions and needless negative judgments. We also might have the tendency of placing our personal expectations on others. To demonstrate this, simply look to your own experiences and you’ll see your expectations of others are rarely, if ever, met. Therefore, when we place our expectations on others, we’re playing a game we can’t win. Disappointment, frustration and even anger ensue, and the relationships we have with others break down.

Rather than trying to force your personal expectations on others, as we typically do, work to communicate effectively and create understanding between you. Then, let others make their decisions (because they will) and make your own (because you will). If there’s alignment, or a lack thereof, it will be obvious. Letting the chips fall where they may, rather than trying to force a situation, will create a trail of truth that becomes useful to all parties involved.

In business coaching, we inevitably come face-to-face with the fact that not everyone is on the same page for the business relationship to be as effective as it can be for the owner, team members and clients. In addressing this obstacle, and to achieve greater happiness and success for all, we first work to get the ownership clear as to its intentions for the company. We clarify the vision and direction for the company and the standards the company will operate by to accomplish its goals. From this point, we work to communicate this effectively to the management team and then to the rest of the team. Once everyone is clear as to the intent, direction and standards, we observe how each team member takes on the plan. It soon becomes obvious where alignment exists and where it doesn’t.
Further communications are had with those not aligned with the company’s direction. If, over a short period of time, we can’t come together, a decision is made as to whether or not to continue the relationship.

In every situation where we have identified that enough alignment is not present to make the relationship a beneficial one for all parties, and have made the strong choice to set a team member and the company free, both have benefitted. You see, if a team member is not willing to be an effective part of the team, then everyone can benefit from a change. After the change is made, the company hires a new team member who more closely aligns with its direction. Also, the former team member is free to choose a new work environment that better aligns with him or her. In this situation, everyone has the opportunity to win!