I recently spoke to a group of people and shared information that challenged their thinking and their behavior. Afterwards several people approached with questions and comments.
One woman had received the message and wanted help in taking the next step.
Another woman expressed her gratitude for the message. She admitted that she had always struggled in one particular area – but until today, she hadn’t realized it. Now she was actively processing the new information and beginning to visualize what a change in her behavior would look like.
Then a man stepped forward that was actively rejecting the message.
In 1999 I read Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People for the first time. One of the stories in that book that captured my attention was about David Lilienthal, a man that was commissioned to head the new Atomic Energy Commission.
He brought together a very diverse bunch of influential individuals. And although they had a huge agenda and the press was pushing them for results he believed that efficiency was not the first priority – synergy was. So he wisely invested time facilitating relationship building, causing them to deeply understand each other’s history, goals, passions, and perspectives and transforming a group of individuals into a passionate team.
This is how Stephen Covey describes the result: “The respect among the members of the commission was so high that if there was disagreement, instead of opposition and defense, there was a genuine effort to understand. The attitude was, “If a person of your intelligence and competence and commitment disagrees with me, then there must be something to your disagreement that I don’t understand, and I need to understand it. You have a perspective, a frame of reference I need to look at.”
~This is one of my favorite quotes…
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” Apple
Last week I was facilitating a leadership development session for people from every department and every level of a large organization. During our discussion I asked them if they realized that regardless of their title they are paid to think. …Their immediate response? Silence.
Later in the week I re-opened the book The Secret and as I skimmed through the pages this quote jumped off the page, “Check your brains at the door. They will be returned to you as you leave the building. ~The Management”
How about you? Are you paid to think? …Or to check your brains at the door?
…As we near the start of a new year I wonder:
- How many people work in cultures that expect them to check their brains at the door?
- How many organizations have actually invited their employees to think?
- How many organizations have provided the tools and the training to help their organization unleash the knowledge that exists within their own walls?