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I’ve Tried Feedback, It Didn’t Work – Now What?

by Richard Foulkes

When we have a problem or issue with someone – a partner, employee, service provider or BNI member, the best thing to do is pause, take a breath, re-group and then work out how to approach them sensitively and raise the issue, as positively as possible. We should focus on solutions. In business, BNI and life we should all want the opportunity to put something right, rather than leaving the other person unhappy, disgruntled and perhaps telling everyone else about the issue.

Done well, there is a positive feedback loop and a stronger relationship to be had. Sometimes, despite our best intentions, it doesn’t work out that way and things get worse, not better.

We don’t get paid, listened to, or what we would consider justice. Maybe they keep coming after us, talking about us to others or just making our life difficult. What do we do then?

Damage Limitation

If issues, get solved quickly then people are grateful, and often what started as a dispute can end up enhancing the relationship. If things take too long to be addressed, people can start to feel grumpy, and the issue can escalate quickly.

It’s always best to act as quickly as possible with a solutions-based approach.

I need to take it further

If you feel that you must move this forward, the best course of action is to get the dispute into the hands of a third party to act on your behalf and help you through it. This should help take the emotion out of the situation and help you the realistic outcomes and costs and know the best way to progress it towards a resolution.

In a personal relationship it might be a counsellor or mediator. For a debt, it might be a debt collector. For a legal dispute it might be lawyer. For a small dispute it might be the Small Claims Tribunal. There are various statutory ombudsmen and tribunals in Banking, Real Estate, Employment, Telecommunications etc.

Reality Check

Before heading down the justice at all costs route, do a reality check. Are you totally blameless – is it the other party’s sole fault? Try looking at their side of the story. Run the scenario past an objective third party to make sure you are being reasonable. We have all seen disputes where from the outside we think both sides are to blame.

If it’s an issue involving another BNI Member, this is where the BNI Membership Committee can help. The membership committee are not here to apportion blame, but they are here to make sure that all parties have an opportunity to be heard in professional and confidential setting. They are here to hear both sides to each story and make sure everyone is heard and communicating with each other.

Keep Moving Forward

Sometimes the mental cost of a dispute, the distraction and negativity can be become larger than the original issue itself. 

However, we all grow through our challenges so perhaps we need to look at the positives and work out what we can gain from the experience.

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