QUESTION 23: HOW CAN WE HAVE A NEW CONVERSATION?
Have you had many conversations with a team member, and they seem to be avoiding your message? Or they seem to have heard it, only to revert to their old behavior as soon as the conversation has ended?
It is necessary to shift the nature of the conversation. Not the content of the conversation, but the context in which it is being had.
It’s about shaking people out of their patterns. Human beings are programmed to look for patterns, to make sense of the world by saying ‘Ah, I have seen this before so no need to pay it any attention.’
In the world of conversations, human beings also look for patterns, and look to avoid doing anything different because they think ‘Don’t worry, I’ve heard this before.’ This explains how
shaking people out of their pattern can often be a simple thing.
Here are a couple of examples David gives from his personal life: “I tell my wife I love her. She says, ‘Thank you, David, love you too!’ But sometimes I stop, touch her on the arm, look her firmly in the eye, wait until I know she is really looking at me and I say ‘No, I want you to hear this: I love you.’” She knows she is being addressed in a different way. In this moment, the conversation has shifted from being the patterned, background conversation of what husbands and wives tend to say to each other – and becomes new, almost as if being said for the very first time.
“I tell my son ‘Hey Alex, are you doing your homework before or after dinner?’ But sometimes I stop, look him firmly in the eye, wait until I know he is really looking at me and I say ‘No, Alex, I want you to hear what I say: ‘Tell me, are you doing your homework before or after dinner?’ In that moment, we have broken out of the patterned, background conversation of what fathers and sons tend to say to each other. I’ve drawn attention to the conversation, so we can really have it.”
You make your team member aware that we have had this conversation before. You ask them to acknowledge that too. And then you say ’So now I really want to have this conversation. Are you up for that?’
Now you can have the conversation for the first time.
Who do you need to have a ‘new conversation’ with, rather than a repetition of an old one? How will you invite them, break them out of the old pattern, and really have the conversation?
Listen to day 23 HERE.
David & Charrise