What is the atmosphere like in your credit union’s planning sessions?

More specifically, how do people get along and interact during your credit union’s planning sessions?

Rotary-4-Way Test

Is it like pulling teeth to get fresh ideas and positive attitudes from some people? Or, maybe it’s a situation where nobody wants to say what they really think, and it feels a bit like you’re sitting around a campfire singing Kumbaya instead of seriously debating the future of the business.

Hopefully, your planning sessions fall somewhere in the middle, because neither one of these scenarios are ideal.  Yes, it’s nice when everyone gets along, but Dale Carnegie was on to something with his theory that when partners always agree, (at least) one of them is not needed.

On the flip side, when your planning sessions are constantly derailed by difficult people, it’s nearly impossible to get anything accomplished.

When this happens in the planning sessions I facilitate, I like to use Rotary International’s Four-Way Test as a guideline for improving interaction:

Of the things we think, say or do

  • Is it the TRUTH?
  • Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  • Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
  • Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

It seems almost too simple to be effective, doesn’t it? Maybe that’s why it works.

Think about it.

If we approach a situation and behave with these intentions–to speak the truth, to be fair to everyone, to build goodwill and better friendships, and to make our contributions beneficial to all concerned, it changes the way we engage with the team.

You still may initially see some opposition from the disruptors, but this is where you take away the fuel that feeds the fire they insist on starting.

When everyone else makes a commitment to change the way they engage, there is nobody left to argue for the sake of arguing.  There is nobody willing to spend any more time entertaining the destructive behavior of someone trying to hang on to the past or dominate the future.

Instead, everyone gets focused on what’s important to the credit union moving forward (and feels empowered to call out those who are not).

Action Advice:  Read my recent post Everyone’s to Blame (but nobody is accepting responsibility) about dealing with difficult board members, and equip your team with the 4-Way Test before at your next planning session. It will improve interaction and lead the team in a better direction.