Sunday, June 26, 2011

Focus and Time

It is easy to understand why labor negotiations often reach a conclusion in the dead of night after weeks of wrangling: The teams are tired and what once seemed impossible to accept has now become tolerable.

There is a twist to the process that can be be found in other settings and it relates to candor. Put people in a room long enough to talk about a particular subject and - to borrow a science fiction term - their laser shields drop and they start to open up on sensitive topics. This may be due to fatigue or increased levels of trust but it is productive. Investigators have known this for years and yet those of us in business, who might avoid initiating third-degree interrogations, can benefit from the combination of focus and time. We get together and talk and talk and eventually open up.

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