Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Speaking in a vacuum ...

Organizations tend to have a tough time speaking to their employees. We have professional coaches galore trying to provide for new techniques to doing so, which includes everything from the dawn of humanity to the current date. With the advent of technology we now speak of how social platforms can leverage some of this dialogue in a more open and honest fashion across the expanse of the organization. How does a virtual space that mimics what we have in reality from a social setting solve the problem? Is it not yet another platform?

When did it become so difficult to have a conversation with each other as human beings, as that's all we are trying to accomplish? Not to take away from the learning's to be had from different conversation mechanisms, however, how did we get to a stage where we could not keep basic tenets in mind while holding civil discourse amongst our own?

I look at where some of these conversations are geared towards, and how formal leaders are provided with tools and techniques for doing so adequately with their respective portfolios. When did it become ok to have formal leaders that cannot have the basic skills of having a dialogue with people you are to lead? When the discussion of nurture vs. nature comes up over leaders, I keep wondering if having a dialogue is not simply a nurture concept. Is it not as simple as, you either have it or you don't?

I have found myself in situations where there are discussions around how information should be phrased, perhaps even taken to the lowest common denominator, to ensure there is understanding, comprehension and at times a level of adherence. Sometimes I wonder why we don't include the groups we lead in larger discussions? Natural leadership and growth can only occur if situations are made available in a fashion that is accessible to one and all. Doing so with the lowest common denominator takes the strongest resource and their ideologies completely out of the equation.

Speaking not shouting, is probably the better approach to have your words heard & registered. Its a simple concept of ensuring there is a mutual dialogue occurring and not a one-sided conversation. This needs to occur on both fronts, i.e. with folks with positional authority and those without. Although there are all sorts of traditional and perhaps challenging roadblocks such as unionized environments, I would submit, a simple conversation that is not held in a vacuum allows for far better reception than it would otherwise.

We need to simplify this and take away from the complex methodologies that have us performing rituals rather than focusing on the intent of the conversation. Take it a step at a time and even if you convert from speaking in a vacuum to speaking in a canyon, at the very least you receive an echo of what you have said. Perhaps in the future, the canyon will be full of acknowledging echoes and it would simply not be a singular voice, but a collective one dialoguing as we as home sapiens are genetically encoded to do.

A lot of folks talk about listening being the primer for success, and although I do concur with that, I humbly suggest that listening needs to occur in an environment where speaking is encouraged, engendered and very simply "allowed". When the environment allows for speaking to be had, listening skills take over to ensure there is a true osmosis of what is being shared.

I would finish off by saying that, there is a lot of riches to be had from the populace that surrounds you. I would even venture a guess that, if we drop all the pretension, the ritualistic behaviors and go back to the basics of having a simple conversation, what we will find is worth its weight in gold.

Let them speak and ye shall find ....