How to have difficult conversations

“General, we haven’t located the SAM battery in that area yet.”
“What’s your point?”
“Until we find it, the air strike seems risky. Perhaps the general would wish to postpone it?”
“Why would you say that?”
“Well, without knowing where–”
“No, I mean, why would you say it? Are you trying to hurt me? I spend the last 48 hours putting together a plan, and now it means nothing? How am I supposed to feel about that?”
“I hear you saying that my suggestion devalued your work.”
“And I hear you saying that my feelings mean nothing to you.”
“General, I think you know that isn’t true.”
“Maybe, but it seems that way. Obviously, you believe my work was useless. You should at least say so.”
“Due respect, General, but you shouldn’t tell me what I think.”
“Okay, that was out of line. I apologize. But it still seems obvious that you care more about these F-18s than you do about whether I’m hurt. How am I supposed to feel about that from my own chief of staff?”
“Yes, sir, we need to talk about that. I understand you were hurt, and I’m not OK with that. ”
“Thank you for acknowledging that.”
“It’s important to me that you know I don’t think this reflects on your worth as a human being . . . .”

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Site administrative account, so probably Corwin, Felix or DD-B.

0 thoughts on “How to have difficult conversations”

  1. soaba: So is sitting here, staring at the screen with a wide-eyed grin and blinking slowly, while not breathing to keep from breaking into laughter and sending the co-workers into therapy. Again.

  2. Ummm, my co-workers/employees keep trying to get me to act more sensitively… now I understand why: it’s humor therapy!

  3. Having had to sit through 2- and 3-hour staff meetings, with Army colonels and generals, that could be boiled down to those 15 lines – I just wish they could be so succinct!

    On the other hand, I wish Steve ran the Army. Or maybe Vlad. That’d be a hoot, wouldn’t it? ;-)

  4. Working for the IRS, we had a woman who’s sole job duty was to conduct training classes on all this type of touchy feely bullshit. I explained to her that I felt her agenda dragged interpersonal communications down to a preschool level instead of teaching people how to communicate like adults with logic, shared goals, deadlines and the clear consequences for failing to meet said deadlines.

    I made her cry. It didn’t make me sad. I should become a de-sensitivity trainer.

  5. I get the humor but as someone who works in the defense industry I must point out that considering what types of weapons are most likely to be used in the situation you are describing, you don’t need to pinpoint the exact location of your target. Not only that but you are more likely to use an unmanned Predator or have the Navy send in a Tactical Tomahawk missile anyway.

    Tactical Tomahawk
    By far the biggest improvement is making the Tomahawk network-centric warfare-capable, using data from multiple sensors (aircraft, UAVs, satellites, foot soldiers, tanks, ships) to find its target. It will also be able to send data from its sensors to these platforms. It will be a part of the networked force envisioned by the Pentagon.

    ”Tactical Tomahawk” equips the TLAM with a TV-camera for battlefield observation loitering that allows warfighting commanders to assess damage to the target and to redirect the missile to an alternative target. Additionally the Tactical Tomahawk is able to be reprogrammed in-flight to attack one of 16 predesignated targets with GPS coordinates stored in its memory or to any other GPS coordinates. Also, the missile can send data about its status back to the commander. It entered service with the Navy in late 2004.

  6. GWW: why is the general a woman? I didn’t read it that way. Shame on you, so sexist! :) I saw it as an hysterical poke in the ribs at the latest craze for sensitivity training and “communication” courses. Actually I find it really funny to picture this particular style of discourse between Dubya and some of his staff….

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