How many times have you been inches from closing a win/win deal between two parties, only to have them both dig in? You do the math, and the only sensible conclusion is for each of them to meet in the middle, but they both say no, and it begins to become personal. Allowing the deal to die will be detrimental to all concerned, and yet the lines have been drawn in the sand. What can you do, so that they don’t end up killing the messenger?

• Separate the issues. Unwind the hairball and attack the barriers one at a time.
• Refocus the parties on their original goals, and illustrate the benefits of meeting in the middle.
• Walk down the paths of each option. The best choice should be somewhat obvious. Focus on the ‘why’ as much as the ‘how’.
• Make your frustration invisible and be the calming force in the room.
• Do not allow things to get personal. Every time it goes there, gently redirect.
• If they just can’t get there, respectfully thank them for their time and wish them luck. You can’t win them all. You did your best.
• Give yourself some credit for your preparation, focus, and determination.

As a Rotarian, I was taught from the onset to abide by the four-way test:
1. Is it the truth?
2. Is it fair to all concerned?
3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Respected leaders are not exempt from being too stubborn for their own good at times. Nor are they exempt from masking vulnerability with aggression. To be the voice of reason in the room is a gift. My wife has that gift in abundance, and I do my best to follow her lead.

At the end of the day, we are all well served to focus on a Just Right World, one leader at a time. Let the journey begin with us, and see how far we can take it.

Life is relatively short, and there is no residual value in being around people who believe “who’s right” is more important than “what’s right.” #justrightworld