Reggie and Roger

Reggie and Roger

Reggie and Roger are salesmen. Business is slow. The boss has called a private meeting for each of them.

Let’s cycle through the thoughts of these gents as they receive the invitations to their respective meetings.

Reggie: He’s going to fire me!

What a jerk~ he never gives us any help!

Everyone else is having trouble, too.

He picks on me!

Roger: He could be planning to fire me, so:

What plans for improving performance can I show him?

What assistance in the office could I learn about?

What options do I have?

The prospect of a meeting like this is unsettling, not only because of the possible bad news, but because the boss owns this meeting: he called it, and without hearing a stated agenda, one could imagine that he has already decided what he is going to do.

But maybe he hasn’t. Maybe he wants to share ideas, or take a reading on how disappointment is being handled. Maybe he wants them to work with a mentor, or to take a course, or to try a new software program, or maybe he just wants to tell them that he is leaving for his new job doing stand-up and good luck selling anything in this desert of an economy.

In any case, these men seem to be headed for different meeting experiences. Here’s why:

Reggie is looking back; Roger is looking forward.

Reggie is focused on others: Roger is focused on himself.

Reggie is prepared to blame externals; Roger is accountable.

Reggie is emotional; Roger is factual.

Reggie is feeling powerless; Roger is looking for what he can control.

One of the concerns that people express in our communication classes is the helplessness of being in a situation that someone else controls, and these meetings that Reggie and Roger are facing seem like examples of that kind of situation. Reggie’s reactions and feelings, and therefore, his behavior, are all too common. It’s hard to do what Roger is doing, and the meeting results may turn out to be unfortunate for either of them, anyway.

But just because the boss has helped himself to a large portion of control doesn’t mean that the invitee can’t scrape up some control crumbs for himself. Let him gather up confidence, self-assurance, acceptance, and curiosity, and see what he can do with that.

Maybe it will turn out that he can do nothing, and all he can control is himself. But if it turns out that he’s moving on~ that’s not a bad thing.

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