The saying there is never a second moment to make a first impression is not to be argued, yet I think that there is space to argue that the first impression is by definition the right one.
I if I had to make a list of virtues, probably I would list giving second chances on a very high level. This does not take aways that I am as well driven by first impressions. Yet I am very happy about the my capacity to give these second chances which many times, if not most of the times, are as well second chances for me. The inspiration for this blogs comes from an experience I have had about 3 years ago at work. My today good friend and mentor and I met in a quite tense meeting in which he replied to my question ” I do not know who you are, what you do, so the answer is no”. Those who know me can imagine that kind of reactions it produced in me. We did not get along for some time but there was this one project in which we were forced to work together, which brought us closer together. We started to appreciate each others directness and no-filter communication. It is maybe worth wile to mention that we were both highly ambitious in an even more competitive environment. My colleague, let me call him F, was 2 ranks above me and therefore there was no real competition between us, yet we both had the need to shine with our own light. It was after an intense phone call F had with one of our reportees that I decided to take the bull by the horn and have a conversation with him. In summary I told him that it was a pity that he missed on some communication styles since the content was right but the packaging basically destroyed the content. He looked at me quite surprised but then replied and told me something similar about myself as well. We made a small agreement to try to “help” each other to improve the weakness we spotted on each other. This worked out great for both of us and I would still say that we are close friends today even though we talk rarely.
I am known for being quite straight forward at work, which is not always very much appreciated since directness is not only linked to praise but can be linked to criticism. F gave me some very good suggestions on softening the messaging as well as making sure that the circles I communicate to are not too wide. He refered nicely to the fantastic movie The Intouchables.
It is a good reflection on why a second chance can be a good idea and even more to keep on evaluating a person especially when you think that the first impression was not great!