In the Moment

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We gather together in organizations and companies for a myriad of reasons.  Some to earn a living, others to be a part of something greater and others to contribute to the world, large or small. In ancient times and times not so long ago, we needed to be part of the tribe merely to survive.  Otherwise, being shunned meant certain death.  As the columnist Mark Shields noted,  "There is always strength in numbers". 

Human nature as it is, we go along to get along.  We follow the pack.  Reading the situation, we decide to lay low and just don't want to make waves.  This really starts when we are adolescents.  Junior High (middle school I guess sounds better) is a time of angst, emotion and discovery as we outgrow our childhood innocence.  Everyone wants to belong, to fit in, don't they?

In companies and organizations around the world, this desire to fit in has the potential to be detrimental.  The free flow of viewpoints and perspectives are oftentimes quashed unconsciously by leaders and our colleagues before we even realize that its happened. 

This happens more often than I would like to admit.  I sometimes catch myself in those moments and I realize that my internal filters honed by my past experiences have just shortchanged another's perspective, another viewpoint that maybe, just maybe could have made all the difference.

There are times when working with others on a project or in a meeting that something just doesn't feel right.  Something stirs inside, maybe a feeling in your gut, and you have the urge to speak up but you don't.  You sit quietly on your hands and go along.  I see this occurring a lot in companies and organizations large and small.

Brene' Brown in her widely viewed TEDx Talk, shared that to be vulnerable was to be courageous.  It's uncomfortable to speak from the heart.  It's scary.  What will others think?  How will I be perceived?    

Trusting and obeying your instincts, you will know when to speak up.  When you get that queazy feeling inside, in your gut, or your chest or the back of your head, that will be your cue.  Of course, it's your choice to speak out or not.  You always have a choice.  

Choosing not to share, you deprive others of your point of view.  Maybe your perspective adds insight to the conversation, maybe it doesn't.  Thing is, you will never know when the opportunity to speak up in the moment passes you by.   

John J Fenton, CEO, MBA, BMC is an executive coach, mentor and member of the Forbes Coaches Council.  He helps Executives to think differently and achieve more clarity, freedom and success.  John integrates and shares the latest thinking in leadership and teamwork as a keynote speaker, in workshops and retreats.  He is the author of an upcoming book, holds a black belt in Tai Chi and is an expert in leadership self-mastery.

To learn more, you can engage directly with John at or visit his website at