Here’s what business leaders can learn from President Trump’s miscommunication with congressional Democrats
Chuck and Nancy and Donald might need to regroup.
President Trump’s Wednesday-night meeting with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer produced conflicting takeaways: The congressional leaders, in a statement, said Trump had agreed “to enshrine the protections of (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides.”
Trump pushed back on Twitter Thursday morning, insisting “no deal was made last night on DACA” — but proceeded to outline an agreement similar what Pelosi and Schumer had described. He followed up with tweets in support of people benefiting from DACA, the Obama-era immigration policy protecting immigrant children from deportation.
The Democrat leaders then issued a second statement claiming “President Trump’s tweets are not consistent with the agreement reached last night. As we said last night, there was no final deal, but there was agreement on” enshrining DACA protections into law and negotiating details of a border security deal. “While both sides agreed that the wall would not be any part of this agreement, the President made clear he intends to pursue it at a later time, and we made clear we would continue to oppose it,” they added.
Deal or no deal, it’s not uncommon to leave a work meeting with different conclusions or contradictory marching orders than your coworkers took away. Here’s how to avoid confusion and make sure everyone is on the same page:
Take notes. “The notes become the (chronology) of what was said and the agreements that were made — so that even if someone, say, hops on an email after they leave the office and says something that’s completely different from what was said in the meeting, you still have the notes,” career expert Vicky Oliver told Moneyish. If you’re discussing a particularly divisive topic, enlist an objective third party from a different department as note-taker.
Do verbal check-ins throughout the meeting. “Whoever’s the leader in the meeting plays that role of reflecting and gathering the various thoughts and putting (them) back to the group,” Rebecca Fraser-Thill, a career coach with the Pivot coaching team and Bates College psychology lecturer, told Moneyish. In “reflective listening,” as she calls it, the leader will sum up the group consensus and give meeting participants a moment to raise any objection. In an hourlong meeting focused on one topic, “doing three of those plus a recap statement could really drive things forward,” Fraser-Thill said.
Outline next steps. Ideally, the last part of the meeting notes will lay out what needs to be done and who’s going to do it, Oliver said. That way, “you’re literally on the same page, because the notes would be distributed after the meeting and you all have a set of marching orders to go forward.” Fraser-Thill also recommends a verbal recap of the game plan and all major decisions at the end of the meeting.
Record the meeting. An audio recording will provide a definitive account of what was and wasn’t said during the confab. “A recorded meeting is just a factual thing … That’s what happened,” Oliver said. “And somebody later changing it, that’s just spin.”
Have a follow-up meeting. “If you come to the end of the allocated meeting time and everyone’s on a different page … then that follow-up meeting is an opportunity to really hone in on making a decision,” Fraser-Thill said. Setting a clear agenda for that regroup can help you reach a decision — though maybe not a consensus — by the end of it, she said.
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