This is the twenty-eighth in a series of short essays I wrote as part of the Ship 30 for 30 program. You can read all thirty essays here.
My wife and I have always kept our car keys in separate places. This was never an issue until we had a baby, and we both started using my car because it had the baby seat in it. Though we were now sharing a set of car keys, each of us would still leave them in our own preferred place. This went on for a few weeks and became a bit of a thing.
We couldn’t settle on the best place to leave them because we were both so ingrained in our habits. To solve the issue, we came up with a new place to keep them. I attached some hooks to a letter rack, which I mounted on the kitchen wall, and we started hanging the keys there. Now we both knew where to leave (and find) them. Problem solved.
Often in life and business, we must work collaboratively to achieve outcomes. When people work on projects alone, they find their own way of doing things that works for them. That’s cool, but when we collaborate with other people, our methods may turn out to be incompatible.
Sometimes this issue is easily solved. One person’s way is obviously superior, so all parties agree to use it. But, what if not everybody is willing to adopt a single person’s method? That can be a problem. If one person gets their way, it can cause resentment.
In this situation, the best way forward is for all parties to explore other options together and find a new way that works for everyone. Life is rarely black and white. If you are considering two options and neither are appealing, don’t settle for the lesser of two evils or get stuck in a stalemate. Step back, think outside the box, and find the third way.