Why do so many fun ideas become stressful so fast?

  • Starting a new professional or creative project with your team.
  • Working with a group of creatives on an inspiring new campaign.
  • Planning an amazing family vacation.
  • Choosing a new paint color for your shared office space.

The answer of course is other people.

They have all these ideas, strategies, needs, concerns, values and goals that are completely different than yours. And, like you (and me) they can seem VERY attached to their own way of doing things.

It is common for something that was initially fun to become bogged down in conflict and disagreement.

Once conflicting ideas and opinions come into play we often feel we have two choices:

Option A: Make yourself happy and them miserable

Option B: Make them happy and yourself miserable.

But we actually have a third choice – Option C: Getting aligned.

Alignment is a process where you explore the preferences of all parties and find a solution that optimizes for everyone. Sounds fun right?

Here are a few questions you can offer at the beginning of any joint venture to support alignment, reduce conflict and avoid future resentment:

  1. What is most important to you about [topic]?
  2. What would success look like with [topic]?
  3. How would you like the process of planning or carrying out [topic] to feel?
  4. Which aspects of [topic] mean the most to you (eg. what the end product is like, who is involved, your own experience)? Which mean the least to you?

Make sure you get everyone’s answers (including your own) and see what emerges from there.

Let me know how it goes!

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About the Author: Kate Cockrill

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A little about me... I am a social scientist, facilitator, and professional coach. Through my business: Kate Cockrill Coaching, I support mission driven managers and directors with 1:1 career coaching, leadership coaching, team workshops, and retreat design. My clients include leaders in healthcare, education, research and social innovation.

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