We can sometimes be arrogant enough to believe that our INTENTIONS equal our IMPACT.
We all have such great intentions, however, the impact we have on others as a result of our conversations, choices and behaviours can be mis-aligned with those intentions. And the most difficult bit, is that when that happens, people will rarely tell you that this is the case. This happens for a number of reasons…they don’t want to offend you or hurt your feelings; they couldn’t be bothered spending the time (face it, we’ve all done that!); or they don’t believe that it will make any difference to your behaviour, that you will simply become defensive (which many of us do).
It’s kind of like when you have a booger hanging off your nose…everyone can see it, but no-one wants to tell you about it!
When your impact is not matching your intentions you have a blind spot. Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham, in 1955, created a technique used to help people better understand their relationship with themselves and with others. It is a learning and discovery tool called the Johari Window. The window refers to our Blind Spots as areas that are ‘Known to Others and Unknown to Self’. The suggestion for discovering a Blind Spot is to ask for feedback or, in my words….taking a SELFIE!
Sometimes we just need to hold up that mirror (phone camera) and take a good look at what is really happening, through someone else’s eyes.
Maybe it’s time to approach that colleague who you have a funny feeling about, who doesn’t seem to be on your side, or connecting with you. Time to use them as a mirror and see what you can see and learn from taking that Selfie.
There are six questions that may be useful if you have the courage to do this….
What do you see as my strengths?
What do you see as my weaknesses?
What can you count on me for?
What can you not count on me for (that you would like to)?
What does everybody know about me that I may not know about me?
What is one suggestion you can give me that will help me to help you?
I encourage you to identify one person this week that you want and need to connect with better and ‘take a selfie’. Make sure you explain what you are doing and why, and ask their permission first, rather than hitting them with the potentially challenging task of giving you honest feedback.
Exercise of the brain is as important as exercise of the muscles. As we grow older, it is important that we keep mentally alert. The saying: “If you don’t use it, you will lose it” also applies to the brain.
Below is a very private way to gauge your loss or non-loss of intelligence. So take the following test presented here and determine if you are losing it or are still a MENSA candidate. OK, relax, clear your mind and . . . begin.
1. What do you put in a toaster?
The answer is bread. If you said, “toast,” then give up now and go do something else. Try not to hurt yourself. If you said, “bread,” go to question 2.
2. Say “silk” five times. Now spell “silk.” What do cows drink?
Answer: Cows drink water. If you said, “milk,” please do not attempt the next question. Your brain is obviously overstressed and may even overheat. It may be that you need to content yourself with reading something more appropriate such as “Children’s World.” If you said, “water” then proceed to question three.
3. If a red house is made from red bricks and a blue house is made from blue bricks and a pink house is made from pink bricks and a black house is made from black bricks, what is a greenhouse made from?
Answer: Greenhouses are made from glass. If you said “green bricks,” what the heck are you still doing here reading these questions? If you said “glass,” then go on to question four.
4. Twenty years ago, a plane is flying at 20,000 feet over Germany. If you will recall, Germany at the time was politically divided into West Germany and East Germany. Anyway, during the flight, TWO of the engines fail. The pilot, realizing that the last remaining engine is also failing, decides on a crash landing procedure. Unfortunately, the engine fails before he has time and the plane crashes smack in the middle of “no man’s land” between East Germany and West Germany. Where would you bury the survivors – East Germany or West Germany or in “no man’s land”?
Answer: You do not, of course, bury survivors. If you said ANYTHING else, you are a real dunce and you must NEVER try to rescue anyone from a plane crash. Your efforts would not be appreciated. If you said, “Don’t bury the survivors” then proceed to the next question.
5. If the hour hand on a clock moves 1/60th of a degree every minute then how many degrees will the hour hand move in one hour?
Answer: One degree. If you said “360 degrees” or anything other than “one degree,” you are to be congratulated on getting this far, but you are obviously out of your league. Turn your pencil in and exit the room. Everyone else proceed to the final question.
6. Without using a calculator – You are driving a bus from London to Milford Haven in Wales. In London, 17 people get on the bus. In Reading, six people get off the bus and nine people get on. In Swindon, two people get off and four get on. In Cardiff, 11 people get off and 16 people get on. In Swansea, three people get off and five people get on. In Carmathen, six people get off and three get on. You then arrive at Milford Haven. What was the name of the bus driver?
Answer: Oh, for goodness sake! It was YOU, Read the first line!!!
You are having difficulty deciding on a course of action with your current project. You approach the project manager for assistance. Your project manager says ‘Sure. Tell me what the problem is.” And you do. After about a half hour of you telling the story (and now you are feeling REALLY concerned about it), your colleague says ‘OK, great. So here is what you should do…..’
And you think to yourself ‘I wouldn’t do that! That’s dumb idea. I would do it this way and my way is much better (but really you aren’t sure!!)’
And you leave the conversation having wasted an hour and feel as if no headway has been made.
Giving unsolicited advice to someone on what they need to do differently means challenging their sense of identity – the way they see themselves.
Our identity is precious, in some respects it’s all we really have when it comes down to it! This is why delivering and receiving feedback is so very difficult. Our brains have a hardwired view or interpretation of ourselves and our situation. To provide an unsolicited counter to that essentially says ‘you are wrong’. And we don’t like to be wrong. Wrong sets off a threat response in our brain and we jump to the defence. And when we are in threat, and jumping to defence, we are not logically thinking about or absorbing information.
You can best help someone by asking the questions that help them to evolve their own identity – how they see themselves and what they see themselves doing – on their terms and in their timeframe.
Ask questions like: What exactly is the key dilemma? What is getting in the way of resolving the issue? What exactly do you want from me? How can I help you think this through?…and what will it look like when this is resolved?
And if THEY say ‘Tell me what you would do!’ then you have the green light!
Let them make the choices and the decisions…let their sense of worth and identify remain intact…and be the best friend ever.
What did you have to stuff up in order to become an expert?
Some say our life journey is predefined. Some say we choose our life journey (with all it’s joys and adversities) in order to learn some lessons in this lifetime. Structured religions believe that what happens, happens for a reason.
What ever you believe in terms of this concept, your ultimate expertise is not necessarily a result of what you studied or were taught in school, it is the result of …
- sometimes your successes… but more than not your failings;
- sometimes your up times… but more than not your down times;
- sometimes your good decisions… but more than not your bad decisions!
Ironically, what we most offer to the world, personally and professionally, is what we have had to be challenged by ourselves. So embrace those experiences, but more importantly stand back and recognise what the big picture is for you – what is your ‘unique intelligence’, your ‘unique perspective’ on the world that you can use to support and pay forward to others?
Once you understand and acknowledge that unique intelligence, you can begin to focus on really understanding and articulating your ‘unique professional offering’, your ‘unique professional brand’ and your ‘unique professional contribution’…who you are and what you bring to the team or organisation….and you must ‘sell’ that internally within an organisation as well as externally to other organisations (depending on your current focus).
IQ, EQ, SQ and UQ?
In our last blog, I mentioned our B.E.T.T.E.R Conversations (TM) model. The acronym stands for:
B – Brain-friendly conversations work that with our brain, not against it.
E – Emotionally balanced conversations where strong emotions don’t get in the way.
T – Toward focus … making sure we focus on the right ‘hardwiring’ in our brains…focusing on what we want, not on making the problem seem bigger and insurmountable
T – Testing assumptions…our unique brain make-up and experiences ‘colour’ how we interpret EVERYTHING. Unfortunately, that interpretation is not always right.
E – Encouraging…we forget to acknowledge and encourage others, and when we do, often in a way that carries insufficient meaning or value
R – clear Responsibility. Too often we take on the responsibility that really belongs to others.
If you would like to understand more or learn how to have B.E.T.T.E.R Conversations, <click here> to request my free White Paper on how having BETTER Conversations can save us precious time, improve productivity across the board, and more importantly, get us the outcomes we or our organisation wants!
Have a great day!