The S Blind Spot

– Agrees Too Much –

I was part of a group that hosted a huge fashion show for their annual fundraiser.  One year I was asked if I would consider being the co-chairman with Courtney.  I didn’t know Courtney very well but I had enjoyed volunteering with her at previous events so I agreed.

Our organization had been approached by the owner of a very well known boutique in the area regarding the upcoming show.  We were thrilled as the boutique was very popular and the owner, Jamie, had never agreed to participate in any fashion show.   She felt our show would be a great place for her shop’s debut into this venue.  Her requirement was that she be granted exclusivity as the only boutique for the show.

With most boutiques this would have been a problem as they often have limited lines of attire.  Jamie had clothes for everything – beautiful formal wear, savvy business attire, and a fun vacation/cruise line plus accessories to match it all.  The ease of dealing with only one shop for the show was very appealing so the Board unanimously approved her offer and signed the contract.

Over the next few months everything proceeded smoothly.  We were way ahead of schedule and ticket sales were booming.  Then…3 weeks before the show, by Being Too Agreeable and not being able to give a firm “No” at the appropriate time, Courtney almost destroyed the show.

A friend of Courtney’s, who was a very persuasive jeweler,  approached her about displaying his jewelry at the show.  She said she “tried to tell him No but he wouldn’t listen”.  She eventually told him “She would see what she could do”.  He took that as a yes and immediately posted a notice on his website and in his shop announcing his participation in the show.  Of course, Jamie, the boutique shop owner, heard about the jeweler’s announcement and threatened to pull out of the show because we had broken our exclusivity agreement with her.

A quick visit to the jeweler by several committee members who had no problem explaining our contract and saying No resolved that side of the issue.  A tearful apology and explanation from Courtney pacified Jamie.

When Courtney said Maybe instead of No she hurt the organization’s reputation and she made herself appear weak and unprofessional.

Courtney and I met after the fashion show to celebrate our success and to wrap up our comments for next year’s chairman.  I brought up the subject Personality Style Blind Spots and asked if she wanted to chat about it.  She had no clue about the Agrees Too Much Blind Spot but admitted not being able to say No had often created similar challenges for her, especially  at work, which is common for the S Personality Style.  One of the men on her team wasn’t as experienced as she.  When he asked her for help she found she often ended up completing his work.  She said she did it to keep peace in the office but it often meant she stayed late without overtime and she ended up exhausted by the end of the week.

“What do I do?” she asked.  I suggested we practice saying No.  She laughed but she agreed.  As we role played a couple scenarios she realized that while saying No was a huge challenge for her, it was her need to avoid conflict that drove it.  An S doesn’t like confrontation.  They prefer to maintain peace and harmony.  As she realized she was trying to avoid possible confrontations, she saw how she was often saying Yes when it was inappropriate.  She left with a determination to change this.  And she did!  A few months later I needed some volunteers for an event.  Courtney smiled and very graciously told me No.

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