How to deal with a ‘rosy picture’ of the results?

12 November 2020 by Marjoleine van Sinderen, 4c Unity

Americans like to look at the possibilities and have a positive mindset, and that is great! Working with somebody who is very negative and often sees the downsides can be such a drain. So far, so good. But Americans might be so optimistic, that they (not all!) give a somewhat rosy picture of their results. First of all, why is that? What do you think of that? Are you ok with it or is it sometimes annoying to you? How to deal with it?

Safety reasons

When their results are great, they can proudly highlight their achievements. They can even do so if their results are not so great. It might be a save choice to ‘sugar-coat’ the results and promises when your business is based on quarterly annual results. In the U.S. it is relative easy to stop an activity or even dismiss a complete team. Bear in mind that there is no social safety net like in Western Europe.

Others who work with Americans can be annoyed by what they perceive as showing off and even arrogant behavior. They find it unfair if managers or customers accept the unrealistic promises.

Be careful when your American colleagues are discussing their ‘rosy-pictured’ results

Transparency, sharing information, openly asking critical questions, a negative project status can cause problems for them on a personal level, and even more so when this is discussed in a group. In some cultures, being transparent and portraying things as they are, even when the results are negative, makes you trustworthy and reliable. However, if you openly say to a group that Americans are too optimistic about their schedule, promises or status, you might become a threat to them. You are openly putting their performance up for discussion and they will find you very unreliable.

Compliment and add..

If you want to work with them, are dependent on them and want to respect them, then take this in to account. You could possibly indicate that what they are doing and presenting is interesting or great and then add how you think it can be done even better. “Great and we can …” That way you don’t mention the sensitive issue and you won’t create resistance. How to do so while remaining yourself? And how to picture your own results? You will learn and practice this (and so much more) in the online training Inspire & Convince Americans. It is for people working in a technical environment in the EU.

Learn to make a short and positive proposal with impact. Improve your working relationship with Americans!

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