Sunday, March 13, 2011
The Power of Tactful Audacity in Mediation and in Life and Death
Yesterday, we laid my brother-in-law to rest at sea. It was a day in which we awakened to warnings that our Southern California Harbor was unsafe to exit due to the erratic seas caused by the Tsunami in Japan. An hour later, we were advised it was now safe, went to sea, only to be informed that we could not return to the slip because the warnings were again alarming and unsafe. We did return to safe harbor and were gratified to greet Tim's closest of friends and family who gathered to pay him tribute in ways he may never have known. He was a quiet spirit with an audacious lust for life, who died much too soon, but not before he left his imprint upon so many people throughout his life. What does this have to do with mediation? In today's New York Times interview of Romil Bahl, President and Chief Executive of PRGX, a data mining firm in Atlanta, Ga. , he talks about "tactful audacity" as a means of passing along a difficult message, which helps clients and trusted partners to evaluate difficult situations. Through collaboration and "leading from the front of the room", the best idea invariably wins. The next time I make an audacious move, from safe harbor to sea to returning to the slip, from challenging difficult clients with audacious ideas, from pushing back, tactfully, instead of clinging to old entrenched ideas, I will think of that day when the Tsunami struck, but we were unbowed, and those beautiful words that came pouring out of the mouths of strangers about the strong, but quiet spirit of a man who left this shore much too soon.