Welcome All!

If you do not adapt, if you do not learn, you will wither, you will die.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Listening ‘poem’

Fair or not, I blame my aging brain and my very busy life for not knowing where I first laid eyes on this 'Listening Poem' as I call it. I wished I could do honor to the author, so tell me if you know the origin. 
I have written about listening before - about the power of real listening and about the under-estimation and the difficulty of listening. Of real listening. Which is distinctly different from being quiet, as we all know. But lets be honest, knowing and doing are often two very different things. 
Most of us, myself included, are poor listeners, most of the time. To complicate the matter, there are different purposes and thus different kinds of listening. Just to name two: if you wish to understand, you listen with your questions, and if you wish to demonstrate your listening, you let your actions show it. How much and how well do you listen and do you distinguish between the different forms of listening? 
Below poem takes home the point so clearly, I'll let it speak for itself.  

When I ask you to listen to me
And you start giving me advice
You did not do what I asked you to do.

When I ask you to listen to me
And you start explaining
Why I feel the way that I do
You did not do what I asked you to do.

When I ask you to listen to me
And you tell me why I am wrong
You, again, did not do what I asked you to do.

When I ask you to listen to me
And you respond with your own experience
Then you’re preoccupied with yourself, and not with me

When I ask you to listen to me
And you feel obliged to do something to solve my problem
Then you don’t give me what I asked for and what I need.

How strange it may seem
But when you simply accept that I feel what I feel
That I ask time and attention for my story
No matter my feelings and the story
And apart from what you could say about this story and my feelings
Then I can quit trying to persuade you
                                                 And simply tell my story. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Lao Tzu’s Take On Accountability

A great nation is like a great man

When he makes a mistake, he realizes it.

Having realized it, he admits it.

Having admitted it, he corrects it.

He considers those who point out his faults

As his most benevolent teachers.

He thinks of his enemy

As the shadow that he himself casts.

This is Lao Tzu's take on accountability. What's yours?

Every excuse we ever make, makes perfect sense to us, right?
And if it doesn’t, we create a theory that we fit (or force) into our logic, and preferably the logic of others.

Call it self-deception, call it cowardice, call it a lack of accountability – it doesn’t’ really matter all that much what you call it. It is a sad situation how much we are trained, from a very early age, to find the perfect answer to the question, to find that one solution to the problem, to strive for perfection. We seem conditioned to avoid mistakes and ownership.

But without ownership, there is little growth, little trust, little progress.

Without the self-confidence, humility, and guts to take some chances and own up to mistakes there will be little trust, little accountability, little progress and even little pizazz.

How do you move from your comfort zone to your courage zone?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Conspiracies of Silence

If you seal your lips when you really should be speaking out, 

If you don’t address the problem that everyone knows about,

If you notice failure but don’t acknowledge it,
If you let difficult truths remain unspoken,
If blind spots and self-deception go unchallenged,
If you allow yourself and others to ignore, suppress and distort information,

You may feel safe,
You may be able to avoid risk,
You may do as everyone is doing,
You may perceive communication to be constructive …

… but …


Whatever rational or irrational fears keep you from having candid conversations, a few things are certain. Dead certain:
à Problems that are not acknowledged do not get better on their own.
à Truths that are not spoken have an impact. The wrong kind.
à Critical information that is left out of the equation still adds up. To the wrong sum.

à Failing to elicit, hear, and act on critical feedback puts everyone and everything at risk.

à Organizational secrets distort information, practices, and relationships.

à An absence of courage and candid conversations jeopardizes you, your family, your team, and your organization.
Don’t be a conspirator to silence. Don’t contribute to destruction of transparency, creativity, effectiveness, and true respect.

The most positive, contagious, and productive state of mind is candor filled with compassion and humility. Yes, they do go together. Very well.