Easy for you to say!
I was skimming Facebook recently (distracting myself from a task I really didn’t want to do) and came across a post:
“Bad way to start my day. All the indicator lights on my car’s dashboard just went out.”
Many folks liked or made a sad face but one person said, “Bad fuse?”
She replied, “Not sure.”
He responded, “That’s easy to check.”
Interestingly, I felt myself get a little annoyed at what I’m sure the responder thought was a helpful reply. I had to think about why that was.
I realized that if all my dashboard lights went out, I’d be freaking out. And if someone said to check the fuse, they may as well be telling me to build a rocket ship and fly it to the moon. I know nothing about fuses, how much they cost, where they come from, and how they go in.
So “that’s easy” was the truth for him, but it evoked terror in me. And this wasn’t even my situation.
I find this in companies as well. What one person perceives to be “easy” isn’t easy for others. I was working on strategic planning with members of a management team recently and while the process was easy and fun for some people, it was incredibly challenging for others.
So what is the difference?
The differences aren’t about intelligence or cleverness. These differences are related to where our strengths lie, to our orientation to thinking, to social and emotional intelligence differences, and to work and communication styles. And experience! Essentially it all boils down to what access we each have to information throughout our life and how we process that information.
To help others successfully move forward on ideas, projects, and initiatives, we must take into account that no one starts from exactly the same place. Our brains are all wired differently. But when we take the time and intention to level the playing field as best we can, with a dose of patience and support, we can all end up at the same place, sometimes stronger than we ever imagined initially.
So if you are getting ready to bring a group together to work toward to a goal (even if it is packing away holiday decorations or planning your next vacation), ask yourself simple questions first:
- What assumptions am I making about skills, strengths, and experience?
- How can I better understand what each person brings?
- Does each person have an understanding and awareness of what they bring?
- How can we create partnerships or teams so that strengths and challenges are balanced and complimented?
- In regard to roles and responsibilities, are the right people in the right seats on the bus? Check out the book Good to Great, by Jim Collins for stellar guidance on that issue.
- Is everyone entering with the same baseline understanding of terminology, jargon, group norms, goals, and expectations? If not, what more information do they need, and how can I facilitate them getting there?
- Have I fostered an environment where people are comfortable giving and receiving feedback and asking clarifying questions?
- Am I comfortable with this kind of necessary dialogue?
- How will we measure success, both individually and as a team?
Just as when I read the well-intended post on Facebook and noticed my reaction and resistance, members of your team or colleagues may experience a similar reaction when the foundational questions and preparation aren’t tended to.
Facebook communication, like much of our communication, is peppered with shortcuts, jargon, and one-liners. And on Facebook, it works (mostly). But unlike Facebook, bringing people together to collaborate, co-create, innovate, and achieve goals requires more attention and intention.
When introducing new projects, initiatives, or job duties…
Do you tend to jump in and start projects from where you are versus where the team is?
Do you meet resistance when sharing goals or strategic plans?
Do you struggle in your personal relationships with people who just aren’t able to follow directions?
If the answer to any of these is yes, try considering the questions above before jumping in, and see what may shift!
Beth Wonson Consulting now offers a wide-range of DiSC® tools, each designed to use a common language to help people and teams achieve greater success by better understanding themselves and their behaviors.
Are you ready to:
- Increase your self-knowledge—how you respond to conflict, what motivates you, what causes you stress, and how you solve problems?
- Improve working relationships by recognizing the communication needs of team members?
- Facilitate better teamwork and minimize team conflict?
- Develop stronger negotiation and problem-solving skills by identifying and responding to customer styles?
- Manage more effectively by understanding the dispositions and priorities of employees and team members?
- Become a more effective leader?