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The crash you can’t stop

I drive a black, six litre V8 Holden ute. Or I did until Saturday afternoon when I was cleaned up by another driver. Before I tell that story, let me just say how much I adored that car. Practical, powerful and very good when moving house and towing a horse float. The only downside was that because it was low to the ground, it was actually quite difficult to look elegant when getting out of the ute while wearing a frock. But I digress…

So on Saturday, I was heading to a lunch date when I was cleaned up on the driver’s side by a bloke coming out of a car park into traffic. He just didn’t see me. But I saw him. Oh man did I see him. In what seemed like a split second before he cleaned me, up I saw him coming and there was nothing I could do to stop it.

Rewind a couple of years.

I was advising a client on a particular matter and it was not going well. You could say it was going about as well as the maiden flight of a cast iron hang-glider. The client took one view – strongly – and I presented another – just as strongly. The situation was fast resembling my weekend prang except with one difference. With my client, I could see the collision coming, had seen it coming for some time but they simply did not. When the impact came, it was monstrous and it shook our relationship to the core.

Anyone else know what it’s like to face a difference of opinion so great that the full force of the impact has become unavoidable? Here’s what we learned from the experience:

1. Accept that sometimes you simply can’t stop the collision from happening. You are not responsible for anyone else’s lack of judgement only your own. This means sometimes taking a step back and letting some events simply play out.

2. After the impact, assess the damage and start to fix it, but leave out one ingredient. Blame. Blame will get you nowhere. One of our clients is a world-renowned entrepreneur and one his favourite rules is not to look back. Amen and amen. No amount of looking back would have stopped that bloke from ploughing into me on Saturday afternoon. I have seen clients burn time, resources and sadly, people, in the quest for someone or something to point the finger at when things go wrong. Intelligent analysis and debrief is something entirely different is no relation to blame.

3. Learn from it. Enough said.

    Fast forward back to this weekend. The worst thing about this crash wasn’t my ute being totalled, it wasn’t being sore and bruised, it was the terrifying moment of impact. The police at the scene quite rightly told me to count my blessings because being able to walk away from a car accident in one piece is a very good thing. Oh, and if you’re wondering about what happened with that client, we’re still with them. We often talk about that period of time and what we learned from it. We’re both still in one piece and that truly is the most important thing of all.

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    Gemma Tognini

    Gemma Tognini

    Business owner, communication specialist, some-time runner, ex journo, V8 ute driver, story teller and lover of shoes, WA’s Gemma Tognini is an often homesick half-Italian and passionate Collingwood tragic. She’s never far from a red notebook, where she jots down her plans, anxieties, business strategies, brilliant and ridiculous ideas alike. Now she’s flinging wide the pages for all to share. Welcome to The Red Book. Enjoy the read. Find out more at <a href="www.gtmedia.com.au">www.gtmedia.com.au</a> or follow her on Twitter <a href="http://www.twitter.com/gemmatognini">@gemmatognini</a>

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