We are all familiar with the Hans Christian Anderson story of the emperor who thought that he was arrayed in magnificent attire when in reality he was naked. And yet, no one would tell him what was obvious to everyone.
In one of the first cultural change projects that I worked on, I was tasked with teaching company members process improvement and critical thinking skills. The organization was committed to involving everyone in improving their processes and making a difference in the way they served customers with increased efficiency.
Many years ago, I was assigned a business coach as part of my professional development plan. At first I didn’t really think that I needed a coach to help me grow and develop in my career aspirations. Then one day when things were not going particularly well, she asked me, “If you could paint a picture for me of how you are feeling at this moment, how would it look?”
Last week my 9-year old daughter came to me and asked, “Daddy, which is greater, love or gratitude?” I was initially shocked at the depth of her question. After thinking for a moment, I responded with, “
Years ago when I worked as an attorney, I remember someone telling me that it was easy to spot when someone was lying. All you had to do was notice whether they would look at you or not. I remember laughing to myself and thinking that if the liars knew that, all they would have to do is to give direct, sustained eye contact to counter that notion. I came away thinking that this suggestion was not very helpful.
I had just finished speaking at an event and a number of people came up to the stage to talk and to ask questions that they didn’t want to ask in front of the entire group. After a few moments I was approached by a woman who began rapidly asking me a number of questions. Before I could finish answering one question, she would hit me with another question.
Earlier in the year, I identified 14 fake talk tactics (Part 1; Part 2) that people often employ that don’t improve the quality of our conversations. These were helpful in identifying a fake talker. Because some of you have repeatedly asked me for other examples, I have identified another set of behaviors that keep us from talking about what matters most.
Jane was sitting in an online meeting where current deadlines were being discussed among team members. At the close of the meeting, Jane’s manager asked if anyone had any other concerns that needed to be addressed. Jane broke the team’s silence by stating that the IT group had committed to solve a software problem for one of her clients by July 1st.