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We External Processors

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 2 min.

Some of us are external processors: we don’t know what we think until we hear ourselves say it. We are very good at generating new ideas, engaging others, adding energy to a conversation, and breaking the ice at parties.

We also can ramble, repeat ourselves, and generally drive our more logical, think-before-you-speak colleagues around the bend. As we are busy listening to what we’ve just said to see if it makes any sense at all, they are wondering how we can be that enthusiastic about this topic and why we can’t stop after our second re-explanation.

If you are one of the external processors clan, here are four tips to help:

  1. Ask permission. While there is nothing wrong or right about thinking out loud, your think-then-speak colleagues can be put off. Asking ahead of time for their okay to think out loud helps you put forth your best work and shows them that differences in style aren’t such a big deal.
  2. Let there be silence. “We were about to have a full millisecond of silence. Luckily, I was able to fill the void with a tangential comment.” We external processors can fall into the trap of needing to fill the gaps in conversations. Get comfortable with the power of those gaps to process insights and surface wisdom.
  3. Ask questions. Direct your creative mind toward framing relevant questions. Questions encourage others to participate. And they give you time to think before speaking next.
  4. Match. You can reduce the miscommunication, misunderstanding, and conflict you might have with others by temporarily acting as they do. Match their pace of speech, tone of speech, and body language for even a few seconds at the start of a conversation. They will appreciate it.

And, if you are one of the think-before-speaking clan, we sometimes misunderstand you and end up feeling rejected. Give us a smile every once in a while. Thank you.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: I repeat myself for emphasis. I repeat myself for emphasis.

 

Today’s photo credit: Rainbirder via photopin cc

mega

Statements and Questions

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Leading
Reading time: 1 min.

Thinking we have to be strong–or at least to look strong or to look like we know something–we make statements. We make our case. We argue.

And we forget the power of good question. To see this phenomenon at its most dysfunctional, observe most any politician.

Leaders (whether we have that title or not) use both statements and questions. Statements are great for naming the elephant in the room and for reminding each other of our mission, our SweetSpot. Questions are great for deepening understanding, fostering trust, and creating win-win.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

PS: Some really helpful questions include these: “What is true now?” “What do we want to be true in the future?” and “Why?”

 

Today’s photo credit: floeschie via photopin cc

Take Charge and Ask

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in We=All Who Matter, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 2 min.

A friend wrote: “I would love to talk to [you] about specific problems I have, to lay it all out on the table and sit there and wait for [you] to tell me exactly what I should do. But this would be a cop out, wouldn’t it? It’s like an alcoholic waiting for someone to tell him how to break the habit, when we all know no habit can be broken without the individual concerned taking charge of his own life, moving on to new habits.”

Yes, it is up to you. It is up to each of us.

Of course you can ask for help as long as you stay in charge. Let’s say you are on a ladder, fixing something up above in your home. Your friend is at the toolbox. You say, “Hand me that wrench.” You are in charge and getting help. Next you say to your friend, “This bit is tricky. Do you have any suggestions?” Again, who is in charge?

“I want to get better at this. Help me plan. I notice that I am not as effective at that bit. Help me see what I am missing. Show me some tools and models that will help me think through this. Encourage me. Give me a sounding board for my work.” That is all fair play.

Go ahead. Take (or stay in) charge and ask for the help you need.

 

In your corner,

Mike