Internal negotiations: The importance of dialogue

by 11 May 2017
by David Lykken

When I'm working with leaders in the mortgage industry to iron out their business processes, I inevitably come across the same hurdle over and over again. We'll get to some bottleneck in the process created by a divide in expectations between two different departments. There's some fundamental disagreement in the transition that the organization hasn't been able to fix. So, they just chalk it up as a loss and assume that it's going to be a rough part in the process going forward. But, is there actually a way to resolve it?

In my experience, problems persist between departments in organizations largely because they haven't taken the time to talk through them. As leaders in our organizations, we often serve as a buffer for our people. They don't talk to each other; instead, they come to us with their problems and we have decide which side is more right and how much slack to cut each party in the disagreement. Here's a question to consider, though: what if we actually got our people to sit down and talk through their problems with each other?

What I've found is that it's hard to have compassion for another person when you never hear their story from their own lips. When people sit down and talk to each other, walls can quickly turn into bridges. The problem is often that one department doesn't really see firsthand how they affect the work of another department. When you sit two people from different areas down in the same room and force them to talk it out, the level of understanding that arises can bring a resolution to your most persistent business process problems. When you allow your people to dialogue, successful negotiations will almost certainly occur. Have you given any thought to making that happen?


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