Friday, May 16, 2008

Marian Madonia

A couple of weeks ago I went to see Marian Madonia speak during a Food for Thought presentation. She gave a speech titled, "Tell Me Something Good" and made some wonderful points, which I'll highlight here.

She said people don't leave their current jobs for more money and opportunity. She said that's what they're going to, not what they're leaving. What they're leaving is the real question.

Another point she made is that we can only control two things - what we think and what we do. Otherwise, we can only influence things.

She said in every situation there are five options: get by, get out, get info, get help or get going.
Her suggestion was to ask "What concerns you about this situation?"

The biggest take-away message for me was when she was giving suggestions for what you could say to someone if you felt under attack. The first one was to say, "you could be right," but what really struck me was in the explanation of that she said to remember, "it's not your job to prove someone wrong." Wow. So simple, but so powerful. And very appropriate for me.

I sometimes have a need to make sure people understand something, even if it's not a right/wrong situation - I want them to understand. How can they make an informed decision if they don't understand everything? That's the same sort of thing. So, I've adapted this to be that it's not my job to make someone understand. Sometimes it would be much simpler to just accept that people don't understand something and let it go. This seems to be especially true when it comes to technology things.

I often seem to be around people who mistakenly view me a technological wizard - that is not true, at all, even though I love technology. I always feel it's my "job" to make people understand something so they can see how beneficial/useful/fun it would be for them. I've decided to adopt this concept that it's not my job to make people understand. I think it will be easier of everyone concerned.

Her secret weapons included saying:
You could be right
You're right
Have you seen the new PT Cruiser (or something else off the wall)
Tell me more
I've never thought about it that way...I'll have to consider it
I need some time to think about that, give me an example

She also said that when you're dealing with people and they're doing something you don't like to remember that they are clueless about that and that it's not about you - it's about them. They're doing what they're doing because it serves them, not because it doesn't serve you. It's not your job to prove them wrong and curiousity is your best secret weapon.

She suggested asking lots of open ended questions. "What" and "how" are the most important of the 5Ws and H. She said to stay away from "why" because it feels like judgment.

Obviously, I came away with some things to think about.
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Anonymous said...

I fully agree with Marian that it's not anyone's job to prove someone else wrong.

That said, if debate and/or learning is done well, the point is never to prove the "wrongness" of others but rather the productiveness and results of a different course of action or thought.

When done well, debate and/or learning is an offering.

Which is why I personally love "why". When you accept the offerings of others, the possibilities of life expand. You may find they have as many or more reasons for what the way they believe things should be done than you do.

IMHO, people often mistake listening and learning the "why" with "acceptance".

For years I loved the word "acceptance" thinking it meant that you embraced that every person had the right to their own truth, their own ideologies, their own beliefs, their own actions.

A few years ago I was told I should look up the word in the dictionary because I didn't begin to understand what it meant. Or what people meant when they said they wanted "acceptance".

They were right. I didn't begin to understand the word or it's usage. I lived in la-la-land for many decades. : )

In it's dictionary definition, acceptance means believing what other people tell you they believe is "right".

It doesn't mean believing in their right to free choice and self determination. It doesn't mean asking the why of their ideology and discovering their path.

It's point blank - follow me because I've told you I want acceptance. Often followed by your-a-meanie-and-a-so-and-so if you don't.

I think what many folks want is the dictionary definition of acceptance.

Which often leads to the frustration of those who would listen to and incoporate the ideas and "whys" of others if they didn't believe the end result would most often be the...I've told you what I like and now if you don't follow my path you'll be a bad person ..theology of "acceptance".

"Why" can be very hard to live with with the modern day theology of the dictionary definition of "acceptance".

I can understand why Marian skirts it as a tool of self-preservation. I'm just not sure it makes for a good society.

Just my opinion.

Patsy Terrell said...

She was speaking, specifically, of the workplace if I remember correctly. I think it was her way of saying it's just one way to get along in the world. I remember telling a friend many years ago, "Dilbert's not funny when you're living it." :)

Anonymous said...

But, but, but...Dilbert has such a cute tie. : )

Patsy Terrell said...

That is true. :)