2007-09-16 11:16 PM

A Lesson in (mis)Communication

First off, thank you guys for all your help last month with James Brausch’s and CDBaby’s sales contests. Unfortunately neither CDBaby nor Brausch have announced winners for their contests. We do, however, have a lively example of miscommunication.

It would be very easy to blame the whole sequence of events on CDBaby’s Derek Sivers. However, it takes two to tango and in this case they got the whole crowd involved too.

You’ve already got my views on Brausch’s initial reactions to the situation. It sounds like Sivers assumed he had gotten himself into a bad situation (check out cdbaby.org, starting with “Everyone: LISTEN UP”). Instead of starting a dialog with Brausch he automatically assumed that the situation was lose-win and the downward spiral began in earnest. Beginning a potential relationship with “we’re screwed” does not seem as helpful as approaching Brausch with “Hey, this isn’t what we intended with the contest and the prize may not be appropriate for you. What can we do to make this win-win-win for Brausch, CDBaby, and Ryko/Warner?”

After that marvelous beginning it looks like they each exacerbated the situation — Brausch with his typical bulldozer attitude and Sivers with his further silence. A few pleasant exchanges could have bypassed much pain and suffering. The most obvious to me would have been for CDBaby to mention something about the August contest soon after the month wrapped up — even just saying that they were still tallying the results and would announce the winner in a few weeks.

So what should they do? I think it’s Sivers’s turn to pull his head out of his associations and address the situation rather than hiding and hoping it will go away. Heck, he could even go so far as to take a trip to Costa Rica and let Brausch buy him dinner! Unlikely, but it would be a great twist of fate, ne? Shy of a Costa Rican get-away Sivers might consider a bit of humility and willingness to accept responsibility (not blame) for the situation he is in. Admitting that he had a hand in creating the situation and working on an amenable solution would go a lot further than being defensive.

Brausch, on the other hand, has gotten a bit ahead of himself following a Biblical pattern for conflict resolution. Matthew 18:15-17 gives guidance for resolution within the church.

15 “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 “But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. 17 “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

Brausch got more than the two suggested in verse 16 when he asked his whole list to comment on the CDBaby post. Maybe he considered it bringing it to the church. Unfortunately it has turned into a bit of a brawl with no winner in sight (and very little confirmation of facts). Brausch, however, does seem to be at the point of treating Sivers as a tax collector!

What else should Brausch do? Relax and enjoy the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of Costa Rica and use those as the basis of his feelings when CDBaby finally begins communicating (rather than making conflicting announcements and double talking around the issue). And certainly a bit of humility and acceptance of responsibility could be helpful on this side of the rift as well.

What can we learn from this? Win-win-win or no deal can be difficult when tempers flare and people are being offensive and defensive. The only way to change a conflict situation is to change your response to it. The meaning of a communication is the response you get. Humility and responsibility go a long way. And, of course, be careful what you ask for, you might just get it!

It’s amazing what a difference one person’s reactions can make. Where in your life will you change your response and begin to clear up some miscommunication for a win-win?

Posted by Wayne Buckhanan No Comments »

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