When progress or expectations hit the wall, I find that I need to start asking myself certain critical questions. These three critical questions are usually where I start:
“What am I not saying that needs to be said?” Am I avoiding conflict ? Not delivering disappointing news ? Waiting for the “right moment” to have ‘real talk’ with a collaborator or client ?
I know that the sooner I get to THAT the better everything will feel and flow. So Stop. Address the elephant in the room.
“What am I saying that’s not being heard?” Did they get that ? Did they GET it? In the heat of communication, or project kickoff, did the team get the important piece of information at onboarding ? Don’t assume. If there’s a pivotal piece of information, make sure everybody understands it clearly. I’d rather be pedantic than sorry.
“What’s being said that I am not hearing?” I recently fielded a question from a newly appointed CEO – He was a superstar project development guy, as well as creative/idea tactician. He said “I’ve never done this… What should I do first?”. My answer was Actively Listen. I find that in most of my critical client or collaboration meetings, the important message or context is going to be perhaps ‘underneath’ the discussion, or tucked in a side track. A crucial small detail or statement that is the real key. If I miss that then I lack a central tool.
The other thing being said, that I’m not hearing ? The thing I don’t want to hear. Be vigilant of this. Watch for the input that makes you uncomfortable or resistant. There will be a gift wrapped in that fear and resistance. Go directly to it. Unwrap it.
I learned a lot of this by listening and talking to Jerry Colonna. You can get a lot more of his wisdom here.