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As you contemplate the coming year, where does your mind go? Do you wonder what the new year will bring your way as if it’s all up to chance or karma? Or, do you think about what you want to create or achieve in the coming year?
Here is a suggestion that could make a big difference in either case:
Make a New EARS Resolution.
So often we hear that success is all about making the right decisions, doing the right things, and saying the right things. But perhaps, it is just as much about knowing whenand how to listen.
You may be familiar with a question we call The Central Question of Life, Love, and Leadership:
“What choice can I make and action can I take,
in this moment, to create the greatest net value?”
It a question we teach all our clients. Asking yourself this question helps you think better, make better decisions, and produce better results. Turns out, it may also be ‘The Central Question of Listening.’
One of my clients recently made an interesting observation. She noticed that the question also creates a major shift in how she listens to other people and even to her own thoughts.
She shared that, in the past, she tended to have one ear tuned into what the other person was saying, and the other ear tuned into what the voices in her own head were saying about the other person. Those inner voices were usually the loudest and not always the nicest. Mixed up in it all, she was constantly listening for her chance to start talking. Perhaps you can relate?
With The Central Question as a guiding inquiry, she found that the choice that most often created the greatest net value was to conscientiously listen differently (from a different perspective) — with “new ears” — than she habitually had listened in the past.
She conscientiously started listening with curiosity rather than judgment; presence rather than patience; and empathy rather than opportunism.
She began to listen more intently, not only to the words being said, but to the meaning and feeling behind them. She listened for goodness and nuggets of gold. She listen for truth, accuracy, and even deception. She listened for ways that she might make a difference by being a genuine bright spot in each person’s day, rather than how she could look good, garner sympathy, or get her own way. She became more discerning and less judgmental.
She also turned inward and began to listen to the words and sounds of her own inner world. Admittedly, her old listening habits still showed up from time. But when that happened, she simple chose to don her “new ears” like a pair of noise-canceling headphones .
Eventually, she began to more clearly hear the whispers of her heart emanating from the silence between the words in her head.
It’s there that she discovered her own wisdom. And THAT was a life-changer for her.
“I have come to believe that wisdom is more greatly acquired and imparted when I listen with these new ears. I know now that the wisest person in the room is often the one speaking the least and listening the most.” she said. “I want to be that person. I am becoming that person – and it feels really good.”
This holiday season, consider making a New EARS Resolution of your own and discover what wonders of wisdom it might create in your life.
An Open Letter (and Invitation) to Learning Leaders
(and other Senior Leaders Concerned About The ROI of Leadership and Talent Development)
Dear Learning Leaders,
Thirteen years ago, my first wife passed away from cancer. Thanks to new diagnostic and treatment technologies, the form of cancer she had is much more curable today than it was then. I don’t blame her doctors for not saving her – they did the best they knew how with the technology they had at the time. Since then, medical science has made some breakthrough in their ability to diagnose and treat the underlying cause of cancer – not just the symptoms.
I believe mainstream learning and development, especially in the areas of soft skills and leadership development, is in a situation similar to where cancer treatment was 13 years ago – doing the best you can with the technology “best practices” you have. But it’s not been good enough.
The fact remains:
If you want to win a “seat at the table” you need to start producing better results.
What mainstream L&D needs is the critically important ability to identify, measure, and improve what really drives learning and performance:
Do you know the #1 reason people struggle to achieve the things they want, or plateau in their performance, or have trouble making their relationships work better, or feel stuck in their current circumstances?
It’s that they get stuck in their ways of thinking and don’t know how to get themselves unstuck. Ironically, many people don’t know they are stuck. Most people are quite convinced that their way of thinking is “right” or “best.” And yet, they still struggle to achieve the things they want.
George Bernard Shaw wrote, “All progress requires change and those who cannot change their minds, cannot change anything.“
How well you think determines how well you live.
If you want to live different/better, you need to learn how to think different/better. And by the way, “thinking positive” isn’t necessary better!
Setting the Stage
What really drives performance?
Most people would say knowledge, talent, skills, actions, and behaviors are the key drivers. In reality, …
… thinking is the catalyst that turns potential (knowledge, talent, skills) into performance (actions and behaviors).
If you want to elicit
you need a way to elicit
The fastest and most effective way to elicit better performance, is to elicit better thinking. Thankfully, most people are already capable of far better thinking – they just need a way to tap into that potential.
The quality of your life is greatly determined by the quality of your relationships. In both life and business, one extraordinary partnership can be the most valuable asset you have. Yet, such extraordinary partnership are incredibly rare simply because few people know how to create them.
Extraordinary Partnerships don’t happen by chance, they are created on purpose.
A Global Movement to Make Over the World
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