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Sachin H. Jain: There’s often more information contained in surprising and confusing behaviors than we care to admit or notice at first
Nov 10, 2023, 12:23

Sachin H. Jain: There’s often more information contained in surprising and confusing behaviors than we care to admit or notice at first

Sachin H. Jain, President and CEO of Scan Group and Health Plan, shared on LinkedIn:

“Early in my career, I boarded a flight and was surprised and excited to see a senior leader from work on the flight. He was seated in first class. I was in economy. I didn’t know we would be flying together. As I walked by him – I warmly told him: “I’ll see you on the other side!” He smiled and agreed – and wished me a good flight.

For context, I worked with this colleague daily. We had, I thought, a very close and collegial working relationship and had known each other for some time – and I had a high degree of respect for him. I looked up to him, in fact.

As we disembarked the plane, I expected to see my colleague waiting for me at the end of the jetway at the gate. When I walked out, I was surprised to see that he hadn’t waited for me. I looked at my phone and there was no text or call from him. I thought he might be rushing to a waiting ride.

As I departed the airport, I saw him idling leisurely in the baggage claim. I said goodbye to him and he felt different than he had in the past. He barely acknowledged me. His behavior didn’t compute with my mental image of him or our relationship. I had expected he might wait for me – or at least let me know that he wouldn’t. When we both were back in the office, nothing seemed to change. I thought our travel interaction was odd but didn’t think much of it at the time.

In the years following, I learned he wasn’t exactly who I thought he was – that he was more selfish than gracious; that the close relationship I thought we enjoyed was more transactional than real. And I look back to the plane trip as my first real hint of that. But at the time – I had brushed it off as insignificant.

When people’s behavior (particularly people we like) deviates from expectations, we often forgive them and make excuses for them. A gentle reminder to pay attention – and take note of when someone’s behavior surprises us (no matter how subtle). Because there’s often more information contained in surprising and confusing behaviors than we care to admit or notice at first.

What’s something subtle that’s happened to you or that you’ve observed that ended up being more significant in retrospect?”

Source: Sachin H. Jain/LinkedIn