Hello MT Forum,
I am back to solicit the expert advice for a subject I am unsure of how to approach.
I am working with a High C in another functional group on a shared project. She owns the first half of the timeline, I own the second half. Things had been progressing smoothly (thank to the DISC podcasts from MT - Thank you!), until we hit a snag with one of our vendors.
We had to make a very quick decision to eat $20K and move the work to another vendor, and come up with a new aggressive timeline and contingency plans to preserve timelines, which we had to share in a high level meeting. Our plans were approved. The next day I sent out a summary of action items with due dates for each person.
Two days later, the High C sends out another email, to everyone including the CSO, questioning the fact that there was any actual decision, and asking for more work to be done with the current vendor, because . . . she wants more data.
I push back, noting the CSO agreed during the meeting with the previous plan, and we can't waste money on the current vendor. She pushes back saying she didn't feel she was a part of the decision making process. She was in the meeting.
Two days ago, in a management meeting with our new VP of R&D, she noted publicly we may not hit timelines. I was going to speak to her statement, but we ran out of time.
I clarified the timelines were still intact with the new VP and the project manager. The VP wants to talk about the division of labor.
My question is, how do I talk to the High C about this? I want to, very much (High D/I), but have had similar conversations with this person in the past and have not gotten anywhere, even with modifying my behavior to meet her halfway. I feel like I need to be more explicit. I know she would be very upset if anyone else did this to her. Any pointers would be much appreciated.



timrutter's picture

Hate to be obvious but feedback is your friend here. Nice, small, cause and effect feedback.

If you can remember that what she did made sense to her and was the right thing to do and assume good intent from her, it will help your inner D resist the temptation to shake her warmly by the throat, smile and deliver the message.

"When you tell the VP XY & Z that it won't work after we've made the decision, here's what happens......."


Nil Desperandum Experto Crede

lilith's picture

 Hi Tim,

     Thank you for your answer.  I know you are right.  I just have to prepare for her to argue each point.  I have several feedback podcasts queued up in my iPod. We meet Tuesday.


Thanks again,


Doris_O's picture

Another way to look at this is she tried to communicate (albeit very poorly) that the status of your project is "red" or "yellow". As a high C it was important to her to communicate the risks to your shared project. If you meet or beat your new timelines, then you both come out looking good in the end.

I'm not sure what feedback you want to give at this point that will result in improving future behavior and your ability to work together effectively. If you don't already have it in your queue, I recommend the peer feedback podcast.

Personally, I've stopped trying to meet people half way and now try to think more about how do I help them to get the results we need. What is and is not effective in how I work with them? I recommend thinking more about how to communicate to her in a way that she understands. Some high C's just need a little more time to wrap their heads around a necessary but rapid change of vendors and timeline. Podcasts about prewiring meetings and DISC may be helpful to you.

The next time a quick decision needs to be made, you might want to reserve 10 minutes at the end of the meeting to ask "Does anyone have any concerns before we submit this new timeline for approval?" or "HighC is there any more information you need today before we finalize this decision?" Also, if ownership of the project is shared between you, you might want to send her a draft of the action items email to review before it is sent out to everyone else. 

I say this as a high D/C who struggles with similar frustrations being on both sides of similar situations!

Doris O

lilith's picture

Hi Doris,
Thank you so much, this is excellent advice. I tend to move very quickly, and expect everyone to need the same amount of time to make a decision, and this is CLEARLY not the way to reduce the conflict here. It drives me NUTS to slow things down, but I need to face the fact that I need to find a way to give her more (pre-defined) time to feel comfortable with the decisions made.
I still need to meet with the VP tomorrow, and provide context around previous and future work, and where the hand offs are, as I see it. I will also be meeting with the High C tomorrow to define what areas she sees herself responsible for, and what she considers the hand off points, just to make sure we know where each other is coming from. I am hoping this will prevent the arguing of each point of my feedback, as has happened in the past.
I will keep you posted as to how this goes.

Thank you again!


Doris_O's picture

Hi Lilith,
My high D side says: You brought up a really good point about reducing conflict, so if you know she is going to argue with you, I recommend NOT giving her feedback.

Instead maybe say something like: "Hey HighC I know we made some very fast changes to the project last week, let's work out a more detailed plan for who is responsible for what and when, to address any remaining concerns you have about delivering this project on time."

My high C side wants to go on and on:

If it were me, my goals would be to a) Improve my working relationship with my colleague b) Demonstrate to the VP that my colleague and I can work effectively and efficiently together. c) Demonstrate to the VP that the two of you can resolve any conflicts between you in a positive way, without him/her. Here's why: If the VP is a good manager, s/he knows her/his people and s/he paired you together because High C is going to make sure everything is accurate and over-communicate problems; you are going to make sure decisions get made, deadlines met and everything gets done. I'd want to be able to go with the High C, to the VP and be able for us both to say, "We've worked out this timeline and division of labor together. We hope this plan addresses any concerns you have and we are open to any suggestions for improvement." 

To be honest, if I were in your shoes, the things you peer did/said would bug the heck out of me. I absolutely would want to give her feedback.  The problem is if I did not already have a good working relationship with that peer, for me the feedback always makes things worse not better. I say this having tried it too many times. I'm finally (most of the time) able to let things go in the spirit of forgiveness and looking at what my goals really are. I'm amazed every time that I'm able to let something go just how much my work, my relationships and life are better as a result.

BTW - this week's Assume Positive Intent podcast is a great one for situations like yours.

Good luck with your meetings tomorrow!


BariTony's picture

Prior to becoming a manager, I'm ashamed to admit that I probably would have acted in exactly the same way that your colleague is. She thinks that she's doing her due diligence in raising "red flags" about the timelines. She also probably believes that she wasn't in on the decision making process.

Just try to use feedback and DiSC. However, don't worry too much about her dropping a dime on you. Now that I've been in management, I notice that comments like hers about proactively warning that you're going to miss deadlines don't carry a lot of weight with management. "Well, if that's the case, then why don't you DO something about it? Isn't that what we're paying you for?" seems to be the typical response. Also, most senior managers are smart enough to see when someone is dropping a dime on their colleagues, intentionally or not. That's a CLM because the executives I've worked with (admittedly for small companies) don't want someone like that on their leadership team. Also, I think that your point about her being in on the decision making process because she was in the meeting is probably understood by your management. I've been in similar situations in the past, and management took a dim view of people who were at a meeting where decisions were made and then raised issues AFTER the meeting. Going forward, make sure that you communicate up, down, and sideways about the project status. And document everything you can.

As a high C, I hate to say this, but your best course of action is to keep the project on track and get results. Let the chips fall where they may. You'll be fine.




lilith's picture

Seriously fabulous advice Doris and Baritony. You guys make me feel like I am on the right track.

I was questioning my reactions and judgement. Thank you SO MUCH.

I LOVE this site!

Thanks Again! Lilith