Don’t listen to a word I say!

In Change, Insight, Leadership, Stress, Thinking

“Don’t listen to a word I say”

The first time I said that at the opening of workshop about 5 years ago a colleague took me to one side and said you can’t say that, these people have travelled to hear what you have to say.  And to an extent, she had a point.

But what I wanted to get across is that we only hear what we want to hear.  Never what is actually being said.  Just as we never see what we think we see as Evolutionary Biologist Donald Hoffman points out in his TedTalk (it’s something that keeps alive!)

And also that the juice isn’t in the content, but the realisations, insights, or the a-ha moments that people create in themselves, allowing them to uncover or discover something new that they didn’t know or see before.

And I don’t mean at a conceptual level – that’s all too easy and has no effect in people’s lives – but I mean at a deeper practical level that shows up in people’s lives i.e. how they see their word changes slightly and as a consequence so does their behaviour.

And notice I didn’t say they change their behaviour, I said their behaviour changes. There’s no forcing or willpower required, but a simple and complete change of behaviour that makes complete sense to them. That’s the effect of a change of mind, or realisation, however large or small.

Some examples of where and how this shows up:

  • Health change programmes that disseminate information or regulate people – people conceptually know what is healthy but without the realisation it won’t show up in their lives. Hey, if all that information was the cause of healthy behaviour then the NHS would have the healthiest workforce in the country, wouldn’t it!!! And if all that stuff that teachers teach pupils about stress management worked then teachers wouldn’t be leaving the profession in droves, citing – yes you guessed it – stress as the reason!!!
  • Employee Engagement – Conceptually your staff know they will receive more pay or promotion if they get more sales, but this only works for those who’ve had the realisation it makes sense
  • Training programmes – you might get a 90% satisfaction score at the end of your seminar, but only the 5% who’ve got beyond the concept and had a realisation will take it on board

No realisation = no change in behaviour.  Change of mind = change of behaviour

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