I’ll be direct and blunt. You didn’t keep your commitment to me. Can we make peace before Christmas?
This was the essence of an email I sent this morning, out of a desire to hold a potential vendor who happens to also be a friend accountable, and for the sake of peace in time for Christmas.
It was hard, but it paid off: he apologized and we had a wonderful phone call which actually improved our relationship, professionally and personally.
What’s the root here? Three things: accountability, “telling the kind truth” as Patrick Lencioni calls it, and a little bit of courage; all aided by God’s grace. My how powerful those things are.
Human beings are fallible, no? We don’t perfectly keep commitments. Sometimes it’s as simple as forgetfulness and procrastination, as it was today.
Here’s what happened: about three weeks ago, my friend promised me a project proposal by the following Wednesday. Wednesday came and passed. No proposal. No communication.
I was annoyed, and on Friday of that week indicated as much. No acknowledgement of the miss on his end, nor commitment to a new deadline. My irritation grew.
Fast forward to today, Christmas Eve. Following a chat with a colleague yesterday, I chose to confront the unprofessionalism in the hopes of reconciliation before Christmas.
So I emailed him (which I don’t normally recommend for confrontation; but it has its usefulness at times). In response, he acknowledged the mistake and apologized. I happily forgave him, which precipitated to a wonderful phone call in which he (finally) communicated some concerns of his regarding the unproduced proposal. Which led to: me learning a lot, a good business decision for both of us, and warm and mutual Christmas wishes.
What if I hadn’t taken the risk and called him on the behavior? I’d be harboring resentment and disinclined to recommend him, and he’d be anxious about not following through: no one would win. By God’s grace I took a risk, did the hard (yet simple) thing, and it paid off beautifully.
Peace on earth, and mercy mild.
God and sinners--and I and a vendor--reconciled.
Gloria in excelsis deo.