Walk a mile in my shoes

Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus

Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When we learnt about the birds and the bees in biology at school, our teacher explained one of the reasons that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. In the quest for love, there are stages, milestones almost, by which human beings judge their progress in a relationship and whether they are happy to make the next step.

The cause of much angst is that the number of steps for men is far fewer than the number for women. So, if a man has 3 romantic milestones hard-wired into his psyche, he’s thinking it’s only a couple of short steps to Nirvana. If the woman he is trying to woo has 11 such romantic milestones – he has a long way to go to win her heart. Both are likely to be frustrated by the other because of the difference in pace.

I faced a similar conundrum this week when I faced my first contract negotiation. To me, this was just another item on my to-do list. Something to get crossed off by lunchtime and I move onto the next item. However, our legal counsel had other ideas. The documents in question formed the last line of defence should something go wrong. I tried to get through it as quickly as possible. She went through in meticulous detail, questioning just about everything.

At first I was as frustrated as that man was in his courtship. Well – probably not that frustrated if I’m honest, but at first I thought she was being overly pernickety (or is it pedantic?)

When I sat back and reconsidered though, I realised it was me being difficult. If this contract was the suit of armour that was going to protect the company when things went wrong, it makes sense to craft the finest suit of armour we can. Also, this was my first contract negotiation. In her career, she has undoubtedly drafted a huge number. She’s undoubtedly been there in the thick of things when they had to be used in anger to protect the company.

I realised my mistake and adjusted my expectations of just how long this process would take.

When you’re at loggerheads with someone, it pays to take a moment to try to see things from their point of view. What’s important to you might be completely different to what’s important to them. Understanding that difference can be the key to resolving the dispute and moving on.