Michael, I love your story and the way you tell it ... I could feel my own teeth grinding as I read along. Thanks for sharing the experience for illustration and for the kind words about my idea about taking conflict *more* personally.
Michael Lang 06/27/13
If only I had read this 2 days ago
I was invited to give a lunch-time presentation, and after accepting the invitation was asked to share the time with two others. I understood from the person who invited me that we would give an integrated presentation, reflecting the collaborative focus of the professional organization. One of the presenters, however, was told he would be delivering his own piece, and while generally on the common theme, would not need to be integrated with the other two. Two months before the presentation--which was today--I began corresponding with the other two presenters, seeking to build a common set of objectives and to design a program that was cohesive and collaborative. The one who had been given quite different instructions, never responded to the emails, failed to circulate materials, and was generally unresponsive. I wasn't aware of the different goals: collaboration vs. individual presentations. Unresponsiveness to all efforts to coordinate led to feeling disrespected, and created no small amount of frustration, confusion and disorder. As the featured guest and nominally responsible for the presentation, I felt personally insulted. It was only as we met prior to the presentation did the origin of the problem become clear. Divergent instructions created an initial distance that became a chasm as my efforts to coordinate were met with silence. So, even though I am reading your post after-the-fact, I am comforted by what you've written, and know that next time--because surely there will be a next time, or two or ten--I will have a more constructive and less stressful way of responding.