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By Craig S. Galati, FAIA, FSMPS, CPSM


Sometimes, we go against our gut feelings. We don’t always trust our instincts and avoid saying what we feel. Essentially, we go along with decisions we don’t endorse, never allowing our voices to be heard. While being the only one in the room to speak up can be challenging, suppressing authentic concerns and opinions can lead to unresolved situations.
Take, for instance, a recent conversation I had with a friend about a workplace conflict he experienced. He explained that one of his partners was interested in selling his stock in the company, but he and the company’s three other partners were concerned that the company did not have enough capital to complete the transaction.

Around that same time, the firm was approached by an outside party who expressed interest in buying in to the company and purchasing the stock with cash. This generated interest on behalf of the partners, who saw it as an excellent way to satisfy the stock purchase and, perhaps, capitalize on another partner who could attract and bring in new business. The parties met a few times to iron out the terms and conditions of the stock sale and the role of the new partner. During the process, my friend felt unsure about whether this new person would be a good fit for the firm, but the talks continued.
“I wish now that I had the same courage my friend had.”
Once the third meeting was underway, my friend finally announced that he didn’t support the new partnership. After expressing his opinions, he was concerned his partners would be displeased with his opposition. However, they, in fact, agreed with him and were grateful he had the courage to voice his authentic opinion, before it was too late. As a result, negotiations were halted and a bad decision was averted.
This is a scenario we can all likely relate to. In fact, I had a similar experience when my partners wanted to hire a new employee that I felt uneasy about. Even though my intuition was screaming this wouldn’t be a good fit for our firm, I went along with the decision. I remember thinking that, perhaps, I didn’t know the person well enough and was missing something everyone else was seeing. Also, I trusted my partners and their hiring and decision-making abilities. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before we all realized we had made a bad decision; the new employee just wasn’t right for the position or our firm. I wish now that I had the same courage my friend had. I could’ve saved my firm from the anguish of severing an employee and the effect is had on the work and our staff.

When you see someone in your office acting out of character, that is a good sign that something might be wrong. Check in with them, there may be an issue that you can help with. A kind ear and a demonstration to help might be just what this person needs. Having a courageous conversation might be the initialization of the change that is needed.

Over the years, I’ve realized that going with my gut leads to essential life lessons. Here are helpful practices I’ve learned along the way:
Too often, we repress our gut feelings. But intuition is a powerful tool we can all tap in to. As it turns out, our intuition tends to be correct. Perhaps, it is an emotional way to protect ourselves, yet we frequently ignore it because it cannot be rationally explained. Practice accessing your intuition and pay attention to what it is telling you.
Strive for authenticity. Practice being consistent in all situations and share your authentic opinions and instincts. Use your values as your guide and feel confident that colleagues will respect and appreciate your thoughts. Take time when gathering your thoughts, then present them with self-assurance and composure. Your truthful take on things will resonate with your team.
Concentrate on presenting your thoughts professionally, thoughtfully, and respectfully. You cannot control how others will hear what you have to say, you can only control how you say it.
In conclusion, I have found that thoroughly understanding the situation you are in and spending the necessary time unpacking its pros and cons will help you turn your gut feelings into tangible talking points. When you trust your instincts and feel confident about your opinions, you will speak with authority and authenticity. As with most challenges, it takes practice, but it can go a long way and have far-reaching effects.
Keep practicing your courageous conversations. Eventually, they will feel natural and become a part of your everyday interactions and endeavors.
“When you trust your instincts and feel confident about your opinions, you will speak with authority and authenticity.”
Craig Galati, FAIA, FSMPS, CPSM, leads LGA Architecture in Las Vegas, NV, a firm recognized for combining architecture, sociology, and sustainability. His strength lies in helping teams develop forward-thinking, strategic solutions. He has a passion for workshop facilitation and public outreach that lead to clarity and direction. Galati was Society president in 2016–2017.
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