I Notice

When we see someone repeatedly making the same mistake, we tend to tell them about it.

The problem is, people will resist us telling them what to do or how to solve a problem. Even if our idea is a good one. And even if it would benefit them. They are subtly saying that it is none of our beeswax (it isn’t); we are not in charge of this (we aren’t).

Instead make an observation. Start by saying, “I notice…” Then be quiet for a 2-4 seconds.

For instance, let’s say you work with someone who waits until the last minute to start important projects. You could tell them it bugs you, you can highlight ideas for how they can be more organized, and you can try to ignore the problem. Or you can say, “I notice you wait until the last minute to start important projects.” In the following silence, your colleague will most likely start describing the problem from their perspective.

At that point, they are in charge of the problem and the solution. Resistance drops to zero. And you can proceed to help them come up with their own solutions.


In your corner,



PS: Double-super-secret tip: After their initial response, let there be 2-4 more seconds of silence. What they say next will be even more insightful and useful.

PPS: This approach will backfire if you use it as a weapon.

PPPS: How to be to really have this approach work well: curious, confident, calm.

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