Montana Jones

Montana n: A state of the northwest United States bordering on Canada. Admitted as the 41st state in 1889. The fourth largest state in the union, it includes vast prairies and numerous majestic mountain ranges.
Syn: Treasure State, Big Sky Country, Last Best Place.

Jones n: slang. An addiction or very deep craving.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Business meeting

The meeting started with smiles and handshakes and friendly how was your season banter. The brass tax came shortly. "We had some problems with your reservations last season and we need to make sure they don't happen again." They were enumerated, problem x, problem y, problem z. They made some initial reactions to the problems. K_ took the floor. "Here is what we need, what we are thinking, what we need is to limit the headcount. We want to hold your headcount at 8 people per night." But as per K_'s style she did not wait for a reaction at that point. She went on to explaining why's and wherefores and citing examples. They tried to speak from time to time, address a point, make a query. They were rarely allowed full sentences. K_ was not listening, she was talking. Her thoughts crashing together like waves bashing one idea against the other and ejecting them from her lips in random patterns. Little relationship between her sentences formed other than being rough hewn from the same block. And as an active mind will take a thought and spin it to view from this vantage and that, her speech came out with similar disconnected stabs at reason. Sometimes hopping from one point to another, sometimes contradicting herself, often sounding like babble.

Moments of clarity emerged from the turbulence. A few ideas were grasped. They tried to make some rebuttals. They tried to explain a few points. I wanted to listen to they now. I wanted the pleasure of watching they twist and spin and try to speak to the charges before them; but still K_ would not shut up and the incoherent flow of words continued. My frustration with the stream of babble grew and I finally had to step in. Grasping one of they's points and putting it out there as a seed for communication to grow from. A few thoughts and ideas were passed around but K_ would not let go and started another speech. And more babble came forth, more contradictions, more rambling chain of thought narration. "My god," I thought, "I need to stop this before she weaves the rope by which we hang ourselves."

I spoke up, interrupted, and took the floor. "So here is the problem as I see it." And checking off notes taken on my yellow legal scratch pad I listed off our complaints, whittling the roundabout tirade down to a few talking points. K_ took a breath as though to speak again so I spoke a little more quickly to not give her the chance and proceeded to illustrate a few talking points from they's side. "And so the problem is finding the compromise between your position and ours right?" There was nodding and murmurs of agreement.

I had done it. I had turned the conversation away from a ranting, rambling tirade toward a meaningful discussion. I held the floor more firmly, more members present were allowed to express thoughts. Compromise solutions were presented and I held them out and said, "Well, K_, what do you think of ***". She was shooting daggers at me. Compromise did not interest her. "Well, we could try that, be we also need * and * and *." It did not take long to come to agreement.

No one was entirely happy with the result. K_ was particularly upset with me. "Why did you do that? We were going to hold to a hard line and you gave them concessions." It slowly dawned on me. She was right. We had gone in there with the high ground of the discussion. They needed us more than we needed they. I gave up points in a battle of wills needlessly. I ended up conceding to the other side because my own business partner frustrates me with poor communication.