Have you ever heard the saying Sometimes you’re the hammer, sometimes you’re the nail?

Its a pretty good quote, but I think there is one fundamental problem. Being the nail suggests you were placed and you had no control of ending up where you are.

This is where I am.

Fells Point — Baltimore, MD

Standing in an office that overlooks this amazing view. I look around and find myself surrounded by my peers. Most days it feels amazing to be here surrounded by fun coworkers and feeling energized by the environment, but today was different.

Here I am feeling tired, frustrated, and defeated only just begin to describe my feelings.

Just finishing up a presentation of a new internal process, there is nothing except questions, suggestions, and opposition. Not just a few, but over an hours worth. I feel the hammer smashing me in the head over and over. Thinking about it now, can I really blame the hammer? I walked right under it and just waited to be smashed.

Let me explain.

We want to do a better job as a company on capturing specific metrics related to changes. So conversations happen between myself, the CEO, and our Project Management Director. We have 2–3 conversations and send several emails about a process that will capture the metrics we want. Next I prepare a few slides, documents, and diagrams, then present.

Now here I am wondering how I ended up under the hammer. As it turns out, most of the discussion came from the other members of the leadership team. I wanted to present, but the rest of the leadership wanted a discussion because they missed out on everything I spoke about with only 2 other team members.

In retrospect, one meeting for open discussion with the rest of the leadership team could have prevented all of this frustration and wasted time (for team members outside of the leadership team).

So here is the what I took away.

  1. Major changes should prompt open discussion with most or all of the leadership team.
  2. The open discussion with leadership should ALWAYS occur prior to a presentation to the rest of the company.
  3. Meetings need to be clearly defined as discussions or presentations. Discussions are open to feedback during the meeting, but presentations are not unless discussion time is part of the meeting itenarary.

Sometimes your the hammer… and sometimes you really THINK you know what you are doing and inadvertently place yourself under the hammer just waiting to be destroyed.