Saturday, July 7, 2012

She's So Emotional!

Peter Pompel stood up and extended a hand to Tyler Gitou.

“Mr. Gitou,” Peter said. “Thanks for coming to visit with us. I hear you are the Deal Whisperer. I hope you can whisper some calm to this deal.”

Tyler shook Peter’s hand and sat down. “It’s my pleasure, Peter. I understand you are having a dispute with the client’s Chief Operating Officer.”

Peter sighed and shook his head. “Every day,” he said. “We have been trying to get this new finance and accounting system up and running and frankly it’s been a struggle.”

“This is something your company does all the time,” Tyler said. “What’s the problem here?”

Peter shrugged. “It’s really our fault. We put the wrong team on the ground and they did not manage the project well. The client had a lot of tasks and our team was not forthcoming enough to keep the client on schedule. Plus, we overestimated the efficiencies of some of our tools in this environment so we had to add more people. That slowed things down as they had to come up to speed on the project.”

“Have you explained all that to the client?”

Peter waived his hand. “All water under the bridge. We explained it, the client understood and we have a new schedule. The client wasn’t happy, but she understood. Mistakes happen. I was brought in to lead a whole new team and we’re laser focused on making this successful.”

“Well it sounds like everything was worked out. What’s the problem?” Tyler asked.

“The client's COO, Frances Forte, has gotten to be very difficult to work with.”

“How so?”

Peter sighed. “She’s so… emotional. Every time we meet to discuss the project schedule, she seems to get upset with us. I go in to tell her what I think is good news and she gets angry.”

“Why do you think she’s angry?”

Peter gave a half smile. “Maybe it’s personality?”

“Ah, I see,” Tyler said. “You mean maybe it’s because she’s a woman?”

Peter quickly backtracked. “I don’t know. That’s probably an overstatement but… you know.”

“Don’t be embarrassed, Peter. Your perception is one that women in business have struggled with for a long time. In my experience, though, I have yet to find a successful woman executive whose business judgment was overshadowed by what men like to view as irrational thinking driven by emotion.”

“Really? Have you dealt with a lot of women executives?” Peter chuckled. “Because I’ve been in this business for 20 years and…”

“And,” Tyler interrupted, “I would suggest you have been a victim of persistent perception for those 20 years. At some point some male manager or executive put it into your head that women in business were more emotional than men. As a result, you project that perception onto every woman executive you meet. You are blinded to their business reasoning because you keep waiting for the emotional reaction to validate your projected perception.”

Peter thought for a moment. “I can see what you’re saying and maybe my perception needs some adjustment. But in this case, trust me. She’s just too emotional.”

Tyler looked at his watch. “Well, I am meeting with Frances now in her office, so why don’t I hear what she has to say.” Tyler stood up. “There are three sides to every story, Peter: your version, her version and the truth. Let’s get together for dinner afterwards and I’ll tell you what I’ve learned and we’ll see if we can get closer to the truth.”

NEXT: See "She's So Logical!"