Why Aren’t They Listening to Me?

A quality assurance expert was frustrated.  He simply could not get across to his boss’s boss how important it was to schedule a set of compliance audits – audits that protected and assured the company would not violate governmental agency requirements.  The meeting ended badly: he kept offering the senior executive more information, convinced that if he understood, he would agree.  Instead, the executive was furious at being lectured and patronized


The expert approached such situations from an entirely different angle.  Rather than providing data to prove his point, he did something very different.  He told stories – stories illustrating the cost of noncompliance and the value of protecting the company with important internal audits.  Only when invited did he offer data to ‘prove his point’.

Audits were scheduled without conflict.


Six coaching session were scheduled.  In our work together, we discovered what was key to accomplish the desired outcomes.

  • First, the expert learned something important about himself – that “illogic offended him” – and once offended, he automatically tried to use logic to win. The problem was uncovered: if he was to win, someone had to lose, and that doesn’t work with your boss’s boss.
  • He decided what was most effective was to develop stories that connected those in the meeting to the emotion he was trying to convey – in this case, the importance of being a safe and sound
  • This provided the magic door: how to talk to the Senior VP in a way that she could hear him.