Friday, June 10, 2011

i-TFTD #326: How to Get Unstuck

Seth Godin identifies 4 ways in which you could get stuck:

-You don't know what to do
-You don't know how to do it
-You don't have the authority or the resources to do it
-You're afraid

He says it is easier to find a way forward once you know what is stopping you. His punch line is: Stuck is a state of mind, and it's curable.

Simple but powerful insight. We tend to mix up the reasons why we feel stuck or try solving something other than the actual problem on hand. The last state in the list above is rarely admitted. “I am not afraid or anything!” It is that vague hesitation, those voices in the head that suddenly highligh! t the virtue of harmony and peace—just when we are called upon to disagree with someone or confront them. Being honest about ourselves (to ourselves first) makes things clearer and thereby easier to tackle.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

i-TFTD #325: On Advanced Communication

#325-1. There's no sense in being precise when you don't even know what you're talking about.
-John Von Neumann, Hungarian-American mathematician (1903-1957)

#325-2. The goal of communication is not for you to deliver your idea. It is to build a bridge between two people and meet in the middle.
-Joshua Freedman, author and EQ expert

#325-3. Fools say what they know; the wise know what they say.
-Jewish proverb

Precision becomes important after ensuring that the context and the fundamental principle are right. In developing our ability to have intelligent conversations we sometimes tend to get this sequence wrong. For those prone to quoting statistics to sound knowledgeable and! others who tend to get impressed with it, one would remind that "
87.42% of quoted statistics are made up!"

Managers and trainers get caught in the trap of completing the delivery of a message and perceiving that to be the end purpose. Knowledgeable folk tend to measure their success in terms of whether they got the listener to agree to their viewpoint. Great communicators have a purpose and content but know that the process is more nuanced. The occasions when I have been able to curb my instinct to continue speaking in order to let the other person ask questions or think aloud about the matter under discussion, I have always experienced the satisfying "Aha" effect when the other person arrives at that bridge through their own thinking effort.

The third quote has to be understood in the context of payi! ng attention to what we say before we say it, a very rare quality. We need not and sometimes should not say everything we know. We should certainly not say what we do not know. After saying something we better know what we have said, what it could mean to others and what implications it could have.