Narrate Your Story With Choices

Published: Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Red Lodge, Montana Boarding House. I always wonder how my great-grandparents lived and what choices they made. It was quite a story.

It was the fourth meeting in as many days and we were still no closer to a solution. In the RACI acrostic, I am the C for consultant. The project was already off the rails, the deadline was coming up. I saw all the signs of the preparatory blame game. There seemed to be no movement or inertia from the development team.

It was time for me to speak out and everyone is listening.

My inner voice was telling me to throw out the red challenge flag from my pocket and call shenanigans. It was clear that the developers were not moving quickly enough. I mean how hard could it be. I just wrote over half the code in a couple of hours that took you days. Release the inner voice and hear the frustration.


I appreciate that we are pursuing to solve this problem diligently. These day to day meetings are getting us further ahead. What ways could we speed up the process to get to a solution? Developers, what information do you still need to further troubleshoot? Maybe we should just have a developer working session instead of the whole team to participate. Is everyone willing to pitch in to get the right resources together?

Which is the story that you want to orchestrate

Personally, I vote for the second one where the choice to have a positive outlook allowed for a different conversation/story to take place. Here are some of the outcomes of that story:

  • People will have a far fonder memory of a tough situation. You will gain the respect of people and it will be well earned.
  • You have edified those people on your team. Instead of coming down hard on the developers, you encouraged them to keep persevering, for the PM who had been orchestrating the meeting, you have validated the concern. For yourself, you have provided value and insight on ways to solve the problem.
  • There is shared ownership of the success and failure. The best memories are ones that are shared with others.
  • There is a larger story being played out. Sometimes, you don’t know all the details of a problem or other thinking that has already taken place. I remember one situation where I was shown grace when I jumped to a wrong conclusion with limited facts. Be that person that gives the grace.

We have a choice in each situation to help shape the outcome we want to be known for. It has taken me forty plus years to learn this truth. With each situational outcome you are narrating a story which is your life. I am excited to see how it will turn out.