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It’s Not Conflicting Advice. . .Life Is Conflicting

July 25, 2019

I was part of a presentation today. It was a pretty big presentation. It lasted over two hours. My bit was about 15 minutes of that. There were a half dozen presenters. We needed to give a status update for what had happened withour account over the past three months.

Given the scope and the audience, our team was somewhat stressed about how it would go. We had successes to discuss, but also some challenges. My bit had a little of both.

During our multiple practices, I was told by our vice president to address the challenges head on. Not try to sugarcoat them in the least. Take credit where we did well, but admit our mistakes too.

It’s good advice. You do no one any favors when you try to put lipstick on a pig.

During my brief quarter hour of the meeting I did exactly that. I admitted that one particular part, “Just didn’t go well.” Fortunatley, I was able to build from that low point and show we had steadily improved and did very well by the end of the quarter.

My part was done and we moved on with the presentation.

At the end of the presentation, our team immediately joined another conference bridge to debrief from the meeting. The division president gave us his take. “Just a couple of things. For example, Rodney, we shouldn’t say, ‘It didn’t go well.'”


Wasn’t that the exact opposite of what I’d been told in the rehearsals?

Yes. . .and no.

The president hadn’t been part of our practice sessions. He was concerned I was overstating the negatives of our case. It’s a valid concern.

It would appear impossible to follow both pieces of advice.

You’re right. It is.

But, life isn’t like an assignment in school. There is no one correct answer that if you just work long enough you will arrive at. Life gets messy. You’ll be given competing pieces of advice in life. Often, you should take it. Don’t necessarily try to resolve the conflict.

I received one set of advice before the presentation and one set of feedback after the presentation. Lacking a time machine there is no way I could attempt to follow both pieces of advice.

And here’s the key: I shouldn’t even try.

I could have pointed out to the president that his advice conflicted with the advice I’d received before the presentation. I resisted that urge. Sure, it would be nice to say, “But, I did it right!”

Remember this isn’t some exercise in a logic class where you have to find the one true and correct answer.

Objecting, while it might have made me feel better would have done nothing but foster conflict and potentially brought even more negative attention to me.

Nope, I should (and did) just take the feedback that was offered and move on.

Because, it really was good advice.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2019 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

One Comment
  1. patricia a nelson permalink

    After all, do you want to win the battle or do you want to win the war.

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