The Art Of Leaving Items “Undone”

  • In settling a disagreement, I deliberately excuse myself early in the discussion for a restroom break or to make an important call, etc. Once I am out of the room, the two parties converse more directly and are often near a solution by the time I return. If there is still an impasse, they at least have found some common ground and are speaking openly. Resolution by absence is one very useful tool.


  • If I find that a project lacks leadership, or that the leaders are reluctant to step forward, I will ask those people later who they feel would be best suited to lead the group. Inevitably, they begin to explain why they are hesitant to lead, and the problems within the group emerge. This is resolution by engaging people and listening.


  • I have saved the best for last. Often the most effective approach is the proper use of silence. Oh, what a tool this is once it has been mastered! Once this technique has been properly applied, a person will begin to answer his own questions, solve his own problems, and likely make his own decisions from that point on. This quiet approach is oftentimes the most positive and most productive.

It seems to me that often the best plan is to leave things unchanged and for a moment “undone.”

Ron Ciancutti is the Director of Procurement for Cleveland Metroparks. He is not on Facebook, but he can be reached at

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