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Behavior, change, coaching, community, Decision making, fulfillment, Literacy, Risk, Uncategorized

In the Interest of Civility . . . Try this

What causes tunnel vision?

We encourage people, especially students, to focus on what is important to them, yet we must keep an open mind.

As an instructor of all ages–children and adults–I wonder what causes people to continue in a belief even when evidence appears to refute their point of view.

Here is my opinion of what happens from my observations:

·      No one likes to be corrected or made to be wrong. It puts one on the defensive and creates discomfort, especially if the correction is done in a group.

·      Holding to an idea is like a security blanket; it’s familiar. The idea holds comfort for us. In order to shift an opinion, one has to feel safe. The internal dialogue may go like this, “If I was wrong about that, what else could I be wrong about?” It creates insecurity.

·      A change could create internal conflict, and the person thinks, “I avoid conflict at all costs!” Typically risk averse of non-confrontational styles.

·      One can feel manipulated if s/he changes one’s mind.

·      People who want to control everything may have difficulty with an open mind. Their thoughts my fly away.

·      Wishful or magical thinking enters the idea. Much like children who discover who Santa Claus really is, the wishful thinking aspect can continue the illusion.

·      One’s identity is tied to the belief. An idea or point of view may become vulnerable if information sheds new light on it.

Why is this discussion important?

To make mistakes is essential to learning. However, our American culture doesn’t allow much room for that—we’re off seeking the “right” answer. That’s why our educational system needs refurbishing. More question asking and less answer teaching to the test will open students’ minds.

I recommend the following: rather than combat these styles of thinking, it may be helpful to shift our perception and acknowledge that no one needs to be right; we may just need to be different. This line of thinking only works when danger or threats are removed from the situation. Unfortunately, an immediate turn to violence is all some people have been raised to know. Here is where teaching critical thinking in school is important. Also, real debate is essential to understand evidence and facts.

Encourage students to participate in debates based on documentable research from multiple sources. Encourage discussions at the dinner table or among friends even if you’re uncomfortable. We can all continue to learn. Be sure to lay out ground rules before you begin; for example, no name-calling or swearing.

Find out how they reached their conclusion. You will learn a lot about how the speaker thinks in this process, and that will improve overall communication. We could all benefit from better listeners.

Delivery of the information is also important. We must remove judgment from the topic and come to a logical conclusion based on the research posed. This is difficult and is a learned behavior. Be patient. Good luck, and let’s all communicate to better understand each other. MC

 

Behavior, conversation, Corporate, debate, Decision making, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Leadership Insights, Literacy, Marketing, politics, social media, Visionary, Wisdom, Workplace

When common sense died . . .

So many meaningful articles are focused on ideas that used to be known as “Common Sense.” It may be common to one generation and not another. Here is an example on innovation. Sound contemporary advice founded on what the Silent Generation already knew!
Consider the American Revolutionary, Thomas Paine, who wrote a pamphlet with that title. His effort to stir the Colonists to oppose British rule was successful because it spoke in “plain language,” everyone could understand and he inspired the readers.
Every generation must define what Common Sense means to them. In the world of social media, abbreviations have become the common language that baffles older folks. However, Common Sense exceeds a simple definition of words.

In my universe, Common Sense is a method of thinking something through to include the impact of the action or words. It relates to timing. It is not just stating the obvious. It opposes short-sightedness. 
Consider the recent statement of Bank of America’s CEO, Brian Moynihan, who said he has a right to make a profit for his company. Is this view one that advances good will or positive presence in the marketplace? 
If he was my client, I would “play back” his response and watch his body language. My guess is he would cringe when he heard his words played back and he could hear them outside his internal voice. We would dig deep to get to what he really meant and craft a new comment in Plain English. We could discuss how it matters what people think, especially when they feel robbed and cheated with the threat of rising fees! 

I would remind Mr. Moynihan about Peter Drucker’s business wisdom about the purpose of business—to create a customer—and, how his focus on profits makes him appear cold and greedy. Also, I would show him how he can drive away his existing customers with his lack of sensitivity that will ultimately cost him money he so dearly protects. A dose of Common Sense would have served Brian.

So,  Common Sense can be a business tool to test a message before broadcasting it:
  1. The unintended consequences of statements made, for example, by politicians and business tycoons, are more powerful than ever because of the speed and repetition of digital media.
  2. Words matter and stand the test of time (and You Tube video!).
  3. Select words that support your meaning rather than have you appear out of touch with the moment. Consider Eric Cantor’s use of the word, “mob”, to describe the Occupy Wall Street participants. Given a do-over, I bet he would choose a different word like “protesters.” See how less inflammatory that word is?
  4. Above all, say what you mean. Ask for what you want. Double talk and hyper-speak turn people off. (Consider the usage of “utilize” when “use” is the accurate word.)
  5. Earn the trust of your audience by being authentic and accurate. The “fact checkers” on news channels and interview programs must have migraine headaches with the tsunami of misinformation pounding us everyday.
  6. Avoid clichés. They muddy meaning because Gen Y does not get the older references, for example.
  7. Offer your audience a message that helps them align with what you are seeking.
  8. Avoid motivating by fear—it is negative and short-term. You will be forever associated with it, too.
  9. Listen to generations different than your own. They “hear” things differently.
  10. Align your actions with your words. Generation Y is watching and they despise phonies—have your word mean something.

Now, go and inspire someone with your ideas. There is so much work to be done. mc

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change, communication, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, entrepreneurs, Literacy, Marketing, Service, speech, Visionary

Are You An Accidental Consultant?

There is a local group in Phoenix for Baby Boomers to connect called Boomerz. A recent notice came to me from them about “accidental consultant.” It tickled me, so, I am addressing the topic here. Rather than take a negative tack, here is my summary of what makes an accidental consultant.

See how you track with this criteria:
1.    The masterful participant has unintentional good luck founded on emotional intelligence. This person knows how to read people and has a high likeability quotient. Listening to contacts and supporting others’ visions is a snap for this one.
2.    Exceptional curiosity about one’s surroundings abounds with this observant individual. This person finds opportunity in a thundercloud and would find a way to sell rain gear rather than give in to the weather.
3.    Networking is a sport and fun for this consultant. The energy of attending events and meeting people stirs this one’s soul. Rather than talking, our accidental consultant is listening around the room for cues, not clues, to engage and share to build rapport.
4.    Genuine humor and patience attract others’ attention. This lively sort emanates attractive energy that makes others curious about this person. There is an air of openness, calm and playfulness (not too serious) while being attentive to what is happening at the moment.
5.    Commitment to lifelong learning is rocket fuel for this energetic leader (perceived as such even if not in the driver’s seat.) This driver sees every situation as a learning laboratory. There is a kernel of knowledge in every circumstance and our Accidental Consultant makes it into viable contacts to pursue similar interests.

I invite your comments. -MC

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