Pamela is a pillar of her local community, with great organizing talents, superb people skills, and a natural ability to lead and get things done.
She has her finger in many pies, such as the commitments to her church, running a charity website and participating in a choral society. She actively helps with her husband’s business as well as running her own.
The trouble is that many people have recognized Pamela’s exceptional skills and have asked her to help them. Pamela loves the excitement of taking on new projects and the joy she gets from helping other people and in building her community. Pamela has found such commitments exciting and relishes a challenge.
The problem is that Pamela is getting exhausted. Although she loves every commitment she has taken on, the sheer number of things she does means that she has little time with her husband and family, but she is reluctant to turn away people with needs who come to her.
What should Pamela do?
The basic dilemma is summed up below:
Pamela's dilemma (called a rejection dilemma) happens because she doubts she can meet her time commitment (hence the question mark over her playing the card, blue because Pamela is the one with the doubts). By committing herself to helping the community member, she eliminates their dilemmas, but at the expense of creating one for herself.
Pamela’s strategy to overcome this dilemma had been to attempt to work harder and more efficiently. However now she doubts she will be able to continue, her card table has become:
Pamela’s problem is that the strategy above has been the only way she has dealt with requests for time in the past.
She is used to using that strategy, but over the years it has made her too busy and too tired. Decision Workshops recommended that Pamela try other strategies that did not involve time commitments. (Even promising to train somebody else up to do the job constitutes a time commitment by Pamela).
Pamela rehearsed a scenario with the Mike Young Mike role played a Community Member asking Pamela to make a new commitment (adding MP3s to her web site), and Pamela practiced her responses. It was obvious she found it hard to propose strategies other than the one she was used to using, and she found herself being argued into making other time commitments in the role play.
Decision Workshops recommended Pamela continue role playing (perhaps with her husband). She should rehearse how to handle new commitments so that she can develop ways to deal with requests for her time. These strategies could involve:
Persuading the community member that the task is unnecessary or impossible
Asking the community member to do the task themselves.
All of these will involve trying to solve the dilemmas at the time the request is made, rather than taking another commitment she may be unable to fulfil.
I found our session yesterday to be insightful and transformational. I can see that utilizing different tactics will help to build human capital and generate a win win for all parties. Thanks very much for your help. Howard was impressed with the analysis and I shall definitely be recommending Decision Workshops in the future.