I got to work. I had to form a decision on the future carreer of one of my employees. As I do not want to just put them into some role they do not like, I left the goal very open, just stating, in the end, we both have a clearer picture on where they could head to in the future. We took 30 minutes just ideating having not much more clarity afterwards. It frustrated me. I feel like I failed. I entered the meeting motivated and left some kind of afraid, they will loose motivation and might quit.
I knew I had to put in more. Whatever this meant. So I did.
Some weeks later. Another meeting. Same people, same goal, different this time:
I reserved more time and came prepared. Prepared to be bold. Beforehand I contacted different people, I told them that my employee and I want to change things up and asked them to dream a future for them. They did, and I myself did the same procedure, coming up with fields and ideas for them. So in the end I came into the meeting with five more or less concrete future career paths.
I presented these paths to them. One by one, without any room to react in between. After that, there was a shot moment of silence, where they reflected but then they reacted! We had a great discussion about what resonated and why some of the ideas fit and some don’t. They immediately threw out two options because they did not feel right. After that we took the time, took bits and pieces from the other ideas and created a new journey of the career of my employee for them to embark on. In the end we both were motivated, finished ahead of time and just wanted to go on and start. I learned that setting boundaries is sometimes not blocking creativity but can guide through the creative process and I wanted to keep going! But we ended the meeting and in the end my colleague summarized the process so perfect, and so obvious, that I will just cite them here and end my article with it:
It’s easier to negotiate when you have a starting point