Monday, May 4, 2009

Fuzzy Wuzzy

Late last week, I received a call from a client for a postmortem on a recent editing project. More specifically, it was the supervisor of the production person with whom I'd been directly working; the supe and I hadn't spoken before.

She dived right in asking questions about what I thought of the process and the overall document, and I dived right after her with straight-shooting answers.

A bit too straight, perhaps. After I ran down several minutes' worth of suggestions on how to fix what was wrong, there was a bit of silence. "So," she says, "What about any warm fuzzies, you know, anything positive to tell the team?"

I cringed. I strive to be an optimistic person. But my mistake was that the trust I had developed with the multiple other team members didn't magically transfer to this person that I was talking to for the first time. Even though she cut to the chase, I should have been more mindful of the need for balance.

Luckily, there were several good things that I could name--the production team was terrific to work with and easy to compliment. Nonetheless, the interaction served as a not-so-gentle reminder to be mindful that rapport doesn't allow transitivity the way a math equation does.

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