When I was growing up, my dad was full of sayings that just were not very politically correct, but they made their point. One of those, that I believe many pf you have heard before is – “How many times are we going to beat that dead horse?” Happens when someone just keeps harping on the issue or concern, over and over again. The topic can change but the poor horse gets beat again. I am not sure why this has to happen. Is it cultural? Is it because they feel no one is listening? One track mind, maybe? Is it air time? “Hey, look at me, I am so smart!”
We had a number of leaders that g0t together for some deep organizational discussions. Everyone is normally on their best behavior, wanting to be a team player and get alone with others, but at the same time, we all are here for a purpose. During these discussions – everyone starts out listening and trying to understand and apply it to what we all are there to do. After everyone feels we have discussed it and move onto the next piece – the same person brings up the same item. This goes on for an hour… My first reaction is – okay I heard it already, it is in my vault. After a few more times, I am not listening. After some more – I want to confront the situation. Problem is, how do you tactfully confront this behavior? Me being me, I start off with, “I think we all have heard your point on this, in fact, we have already acknowledged it quite a few times. Is there something else that you would like to add?” Went okay at first, but we lost that person later on from any discussions.Did I handle it well? I think so.
Later on, during the group report outs… It’s Back! Beatings start back up and continue. This time, it was not only our person, but there were friends. The item was acknowledged in the report out with potential solutions – and the horse was still being beaten. This time, I completely checked out. I chalked this particular situation to folks just want air time for the bosses. Look how smart I am! Well, let me, let you in on a little secret – beating horses does not show how smart you are. Everyone reads through that behavior.
Later on in the day, I was able to have a discussion with one of the folks. This particular person I have known for quite sometime and felt comfortable having a heart to heart with him. Constructive confrontation can be a wonderful thing, if applied right. I decided it was best to confront head-on what was bothering me (and probably many others – especially when you see the looks on their faces). I went right to the item and told him how many times that particular item was mentioned throughout the day. After I said I stop counting after 50 times – he started to get the picture. He did not realize it was happening, but afterwards was shocked. A little TLC and some coaching – and hopefully we can leave the horse alone for awhile.