Thursday, October 13, 2011

Engage AND Inform

October 2011

In a recent poll that asked "What is the single most important question you have about leadership", "How can I improve my communication?" received 34% of the votes.  (The runner-up received 20%.)

So, we've been discussing communication and how to improve our skills in this area. One area where many fall short is in engaging others BEFORE they try to inform. Most meetings start off with the obligatory and brief niceties. Then, they proceed right into the data dump... metrics for this, numbers for that, status for this, issues with that... blah, blah, blah. A whole lot of information... but who really cares?

Telling facts touches MINDS (informs).
Telling purposeful stories touches HEARTS (engages).

The greatest value and motivation comes from touching hearts!

In axiology I often talk about the hierarchy of value.

Highest Intrinsic Spirit Heart People Be
Mid Extrinsic Body Hands Products Do
Lowest Systemic Mind Head Policy Have

Often we are so focused on the Mid and Lowest classes of value that we neglect the most valuable one. Many times, in fact, we devalue the highest class of value.

As I speak to audiences of leaders, I talk about the intrinsic, the people part of leadership. They understand that leadership involves people but often they just want the 'people' to be human doings instead of human beings.

I talk about taking the time to get to know the human being. In this newsletter, I'll discuss telling stories and many of you will hear a thought like this in your head: "I don't have time for that."  "They should just do their jobs." "I shouldn't have to motivate them." "They're getting a paycheck."

If human beings were just heads and hands without hearts, those statements above might work for you. As you know, human beings are much more than that.