Jay says ...
I'm having trouble understanding why you left the space. Did you still have some doubt that they were going to follow through on the improvements?
All the rest I understand, especially the part about trying to find out peoples reactions to __X__ without tipping my hand. Ugh, that is definitely me a lot of the time. But, with some awareness, I've been able to act and let the chips fall where they may. Thanks for the article!
Ted says ...
Thanks for the question. The answer is that I took a calculated risk. I didn't know if it was the right call or not. But I decided to leave because I wasn't satisfied.
To borrow Robert's language, I did observe that the management company seemed incongruent. They'd already said they hoped to finish the job early in the week, but they hadn't. Then, they told me they'd put my request at the bottom of the stack because they didn't know it came from me.
Here's a metaphor about making decisions with incomplete data: I'm the quarterback in American football. It's first down, I just got hiked the ball, and it's time to pass. But to whom do I pass? It's too early to tell - nobody's in position yet.
A Nice Guy might wait for more data. How are the receivers looking? How's the wind? What's coach yelling? Oh, the Nice Guy got sacked. Now his indecision has cost him five yards.
This was also a Super Bowl sized issue because of the ethics involved. If I wanted them to remove an ugly rug and they're slow about it, maybe I can live with it for a few weeks without feeling too resentful. But this is about my clients being overheard as they share the most sensitive, intimate, painful parts of their lives. So until the problem was completely, totally fixed, I wouldn't meet even one client there.
In this case, I threw the ball for an incomplete pass. I lost my first down (time), but I didn't lose yardage. Taking action, even with incomplete data, was more effective than not. (Truthfully, in relationships there's no such thing as complete data. But "gathering more data" was one of my favorite Nice Guy ways to avoid ending unhappy relationships.) If I'd waited, I'd have had to pay more money to reserve an office that still didn't meet my minimum standard.
And great job taking action and letting the chips fall where they may. Sometimes you'll win and sometimes you'll lose. But for me, when I take action, I win a lot more than I used to, because I'm actually in the game.
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