CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- We hear a lot these days about credit scores: "Find out your credit score." "Monitor all three reporting services." "How to raise your credit score."
It occurs to me, though, there's an ongoing credit score that is totally internal -- and within our control. And we hold the key to this credit score, not some third-party institution.
I'm talking about the kind of credit we extend to others and to ourselves.
My business partner, Steve Morrison, has a screensaver on his computer that says, "It's amazing what can get done when we don't worry about who gets the credit." I think that speaks volumes.
Whether it's our competitive society or our internal ego structure, we seem to come up with situations every day to examine our "internal credit score." I'm going to dub this our ICS (not to be confused with the IRS).
Sometimes we don't even notice the calibrations of our ICS. It's been set on autopilot so long that we naturally respond the same way time after time, particularly when it comes to issues of "who's right and who's wrong."
Coming off a holiday weekend recently with extended family, neighbors and friends, I'm guessing some of you may have had some "teachable moments" along these lines. Or, more accurately, "learnable moments" if you were on the receiving end of the communication. (It's just a hunch; let me know if I've struck any chords out there.)
As the saying goes, though, "Pick your battles." Just use your feelings as a barometer. We all compromise to some extent. Maybe you have a co-worker or a boss who always grabs the credit for any accomplishment in the workplace. Or a family member who just has to have the spotlight. They can end up ruining the experience for everyone.
Whenever these things happen, I've noticed we tend to respond in one of four ways:
1. Go on the defensive and try to "compete."
2. Agree with the stated position (when you truly agree).
3. Roll over from your position and agree in order to keep the peace.
4. Stay silent.
Chances are, you change your pattern of behavior depending on the players involved in the situation. The makeup of the individual players -- as well as the dynamic involved among the players -- can also have a tremendous effect on the outcome of such communications.