A Changed Mind

It started out like any other goal setting session. One person was a little late. When they arrived, there was instant credibility as they entered the room. They took their seat at the head of the table.

Head of the Table.

Introductions. Head of the Table had done just about everything. They were in their mid to late 80s, held prestigious positions, made a difference, and created things. Decades of life and success.

Head of the Table. Decades of Life and Success.

The goal setting and strategic vision session began. Before too long, Head of the Table (before it was time) stated a clear and specific goal that set the stage. The goal was bold, big, and a little disruptive. You could see the goal pass through the group like a wave.

Head of the Table. Decades of Life and Success. Goal shared first, Setting the Stage.

The discussion keep moving and started to flow. There were other voices, other perspectives, other ideas. As the day progressed, there were more voices, more perspectives, more ideas.

Head of the Table. Decades of Life and Success. Goal shared first, Setting the Stage. Other Perspectives, other Ideas.

Then something happened. There was a shift. Head of the Table made another bold move, yet another surprise. Head of the Table announced that after hearing the other perspectives and the other viewpoints, their original idea was not as good, not as applicable, and not what the organization needed. They had a changed mind.

A Changed Mind.

The room energy got an immediate boost. Some of the more timid and less experienced participants (who had introduced the different ideas and perspectives) found their voice. Those voices began to participate with a new-found confidence as they felt able to share their vision of the new, the different, the better.

A Changed Mind. People finding their Voice.

As the day moved towards conclusion, the goals, the vision, and the plan started to take shape. Building a plan was not the exclusive thing built that day. Excitement was building for the new future and direction of the organization.

A Changed Mind. People finding their Voice. Building Excitement for the Future and Direction.

Thank you Head of the Table for leading the way, for staying engaged and active over so many decades, and for demonstrating to all of us the power, and impact of a Changed Mind.

Change, Loss, and Resistance

“They have a new building, a new workplace, but there is resistance, and I do not understand why they are not embracing the change.”

In other words, “hey we invested in a new building, a new space, and they should be happy!”

There was more than a building change.

A lot changed.

We talk more about the new building, the new workplace.

We learn that there were other changes.

They used to work together, now they are alone.

They used to have space to connect as a team, now there is isolation.

They used to be comfortable and a little distant from the direct issues, now they are directly in the middle of the problem.

All this change may be a better way.

All this change may be beneficial for the job.

All this change may workout in the long-term.

Now we can understand the resistance.

Now we can understand the disruption the new building caused.

Now we can understand the loss of connection with the team.

There is a great quote about change.

“Change is a form of loss. 

You need to let people grieve it.”

The resistance is grieving a loss.

The resistance is trying to adjust to the loss of team.

The resistance is getting used to working alone.

We need to understand that the change (even if that change is ultimately good) can also create a loss.

We may need to be patient while they grieve.

We may need to understand and recognize the resistance.

We may need to provide support in the process.

We will need to explain why this change is important, and acknowledge the loss.

We may need to explain it again.

We may need to provide more support than we imagined.

We may have caused other issues that we didn’t intend.

Change: It is much harder to manage than we may have guessed.

Changing Perspective

It was one of those breakfasts. Balancing trying to eat while savoring each sentence, word, and idea that comes to life when you get together with one of those inspirational ones.

Mind racing.

Pen furiously trying to keep up with the gems.

Another great idea.

That phrase.

That idea.

That thought.

An interesting story unfolds.

A new office. The old one is cluttered. The new office represents a new start. A new set of patterns. Walking in a new larger role.

But the moving day was delayed. Projects, ideas, and work was spread out in a conference room instead. On a larger table.

Instead of sitting, hunched over, almost closed off, they had to stand.

Standing allowed for a larger view, a change of perspective.

Changing perspective was a reminder to get above the piles, the issues, the projects.

Changing perspective was a reminder to take it all in and get above the weeds.

The physical change prompted the mental one.

Changing perspective serves as a good reminder for all of us.

Make a change, find a new space. Stand up, go get a coffee. Try physical changes that may prompt the changing perspective you need.

Hating Salmon and Lemon Squares

“He hates Salmon.”

“He hates Lemon Squares.”

“He is grumpy if he doesn’t eat.”

“He is grumpy if woken from a nap.”

“He [insert event, either one time or a repeated event that happened, and form a hard-wired rule about the person despite the passage of time, even years].”

There was a time when I didn’t really like eating salmon. You know the poached (was it boiled?) kind smothered in a creamy sauce with dill.

Rule #1: Carl hates salmon.

There was a time when desserts in general were not my favorite, I am more of a savory person, and since periodically I may be training for something or trying to lose weight, sweets of any kind are not my friend.

Rule #2: Carl hates lemon squares.

Years later, the remnants of those rules still appear. People are surprised when I eat Salmon (grilled and savory is my favorite) or take a bite of a lemon square.

The preferences at that moment were not meant to create a hard-wired rule.

The preferences were a snapshot in time.

But, times change.

And people change.

We think we know them.

We think they are the same.

We think we had it right.

How many times have these hard-wired rules created obstacles between us?

How many times have these snapshots been held up as a representation of us?

Be careful of the hard-wired rule trap.

You have changed, and so have the people around you.

P.S. I am also not always grumpy because I am hungry or when I wake from a nap, sometimes I am just grumpy.

Glasses or Binoculars

GlassesBoth of these tools have lenses, and are designed to help us see the world more clearly in their respective application. They are not competing with each other, but we may favor one over the other in our lives.

When looking at a situation, do you reach for your glasses or your binoculars?

Glasses help you see clearly.

Binoculars exaggerate and make everything appear closer.Binoculars

Glasses address things right before your eyes.

Binoculars help you see things that are far away, but may need your attention.

Glasses may need new lenses as life changes and our vision fades.

Binoculars may take some practice to learn to focus and interpret events.

Both glasses and binoculars have their respective role, application and usefulness. They become a burden when we get so used to using one, that we forget to change when the situation warrants.

A life lived solely through glasses makes the world seem smaller, as a quiet seclusion develops over time. Everything around you is in focus, but there is everything “out there” that is fearful and unknown. The life close to you is clear, but there may be a larger world around you that too far off in the distance to be seen.

A life lived solely through binoculars makes everything feel more close, more personal, more perilous. Interactions are overly scrutinized. Risks appear larger than life. Even the past events stay close because of the ability to keep them in sight, long after they have passed. This distorted view may cause you to miss the life that happens close, since your focus is much further away.

Where have you used glasses when binoculars were needed? When have your binoculars exaggerated aspects of your life when glasses would have brought the much-needed focus?

Picking the right application for both glasses and binoculars can be the key.

(Images courtesy of my iPhone and Lifesun)

Jumping to Offense

Cliff Sign

(Image Courtesy of http://www.aroundtheworldl.com)

The other day during a conversation with someone close, I noticed something about our interaction. It was a simple conversation, nothing too deep or seemingly important, but a pattern revealed itself.

The pattern was simple: I jump to offense.

Let me explain. This means that my mind appears to be on a quest to find a way to be offended at what someone else is saying. By quest, I mean that my mind considers this its highest priority and will devote both time, energy, and resources to ensure the quest’s success.

Here are a few examples:

“It is getting kind of late for sending out Christmas Cards”

My Jump: So are you saying that I should have sent these out?

“It would be nice to do more interactive things at the next holiday with everyone”

My Jump: So they expect me to plan this then be responsible for meeting everyone’s idea of what is fun?

“We need to make sure we are attentive to the bottom line”

My Jump: So they are saying that I am overspending?

There are risks in jumping to offense, just like the risk of jumping off a cliff. It is dangerous and there is unseen peril just beyond the lip. Luckily I am beginning to notice this pattern as it occurs (or shortly afterwards).

I realize that I need to retrain my mind to see the warning sign on the edge of that cliff before I go off jumping. Picturing that warning sign helps, but also explaining to the person I am talking with if it begins to happen.

Here are a few tips for my fellow jumpers:

  1. Recognize your bent toward Jumping to Offense.
  2. Understand that Jumping to Offense is dangerous, for you and others.
  3. Slow down and listen, don’t respond right away.
  4. Ask clarifying questions, make sure you understand what the other person is saying.
  5. If you do jump, climb back up and reconcile with those around you.
  6. Repeat steps as needed.

Where are you Jumping to Offense? Take a few moments to think about where you could, as my grandmother always used to say, “look before you leap.”

P.S. I am going to print out this photo and put it where I can see it every day.

I still have work to do…

About a month ago, I attended training on a new tool to help match individuals to a job, or to help coach them on a deeper level. This new tool can identify someone’s capacity in various attributes, and how they view the world, understand systems and people. The tool doesn’t stop at the outside world.

This new approach also takes a peek at how you are doing on the inside. Do you understand and balance your various roles, do you see your future as bright or muddled, and are you moving forward or just hanging on.

During the training, the instructor eventually passed out our results throughout the room. My little table of four slowly received the results and each person began flipping through the pages to gain some insight. Somewhat guarded, we all peered at the pages occasionally glancing at the others at the table. Eventually we shared the results.

Despite the individual variation, there was one theme. Each person at the table had a good handle on other people and how to help them (most were consultants or HR professionals), but all of us could use a little work on ourselves. I couldn’t help but feel a little uneasy and my Narrator seemed to try to tell me that unless I get my own act together, I shouldn’t be telling others how to improve.

In the far left corner of the room, there was another consultant. This consultant has been working with individuals and companies for almost 43 years. When speaking or providing insight during the session the room hushed as if everyone in the room wanted to let the words and insight of this wise sage penetrate our minds. It was amazing and intimidating at the same time.

This consultant called me yesterday. Mostly because of my half-joking statement at the end of class when each of us was asked to say what we learned the most during the training.

“I learned that I need to be coached by you” I said speaking directly to that consultant.

It got a laugh, but imagine my surprise during our call. When we were discussing some of the potential areas I may need to develop and work on, I heard the following.

“You know Carl, when I read my own results and report, I realize that I still have work to do.”

It was reassuring that someone who has worked with others almost as long as I have been alive still has work to do and their development journey is far from over.

This conversation reminded me that there are two paths.

One path makes a bold statement.

“I have it all figured out and I will tell you how to make your life, career, job, and world better.”

The second path echoes the simpler statement I heard while on the phone.

“We are on this collective journey together. We still have work to do and if some of the insights we learn help us…great. Let’s see where this takes us.”

I still have work to do, and I look forward to this journey together.