While it would be nice if all of my professional experiences were resounding successes, that is not reality. I’ve made missteps along the way, and I regret how I’ve handled certain situations. The silver lining to those regrets is that I’ve learned valuable lessons from those experiences, and I’m sharing those today. 

My biggest regrets are times I’ve ignored my gut. Whenever I’ve avoided dealing with a difficult situation in a timely manner, it has led to the situation worsening. The specifics have varied over the years– perhaps it was with an employee who wasn’t acting in accordance with VIETRI’s values, or there was a vendor who was consistently unreliable, or the product designs weren’t in line with my vision. I would hope that these things might miraculously resolve on their own, but that rarely (if ever) happens. Whether my silence was due to optimism or a fear of rocking the boat, silence did not provide the solution. Now, I try to surface my concerns as soon as I notice them. I believe doing so ultimately benefits all parties, as the risk of unmet expectations is far less when people know what you want from them. I think communication is the key to building trust and respect, and it’s the times I’ve not communicated my thoughts and feelings that have led to tricky (and avoidable) situations. 

I was talking with a longtime VIETRI employee recently, and I was so touched when she told me that she uses what she has learned about communication at VIETRI in her personal life all the time. She noticed that we at VIETRI don’t expect others to be mind-readers, and if anything, we over-explain and over-share our visions, goals, and plans. We ask everyone to do the same so that we are all on the same page and can work together to identify and reach those shared goals. She tries to do this with her partner, her extended family, and her friends, and it’s led to everyone feeling heard and happier. 

Of course, there are times when we have different goals and visions don’t align, and then we have to have hard conversations. But I’ve always, always found that it is better to be honest and direct and grant others the respect that comes with transparency. 

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