We need to think CREATIVELY to find new solutions to our most pressing challenges. And…
Mindset Change = BIG Impacts
Imagine sitting in a meeting, knowing the answer to the problem that everyone in the room is trying to solve.
Imagine that you have your hand in the air, waving around, jumping up and down in your chair, but everyone ignores you.
You try to start talking, but nothing comes out.
Sounds like a nightmare?
It is. And it’s possible you’ve got people on your team or in your organization that feel like they’ve got the answer, but no one hears them.
I’ve been the person that no one heard. It’s a crappy place to be.
And motivation to do anything completely goes out the window after a while.
“What can be done?”, you ask. “I’m only one person in my organization.”
Here’s the cool and brilliant thing: you CAN make a difference.
You’ve got the power to change the system by doing two things:
CHANGE ONE: Acknowledge that everyone brings expertise to the table. No one knows everything, but we all know something.
There’s a catchy Daniel Tiger jingle that goes something like, “Every-one is big enough…big enough to do some-thing.” It’s one of my favorites, and it always scores me an eye-roll or two from the kiddos when I sing it.
BUT, there’s a lot of truth here.
EVERYONE is capable of doing something to help the team. Everyone.
Part of this is a mindset change: asking for everyone’s help and cooperation. Asking for the team to get on board, and then stopping to listen to what people have to say.
I’m not suggesting that we give what everyone says equal weight and power. You’ve designated leaders in your organization and on your team for specific reasons.
I am suggesting, however, that we give everyone a chance to help solve the problem.
The solutions may not be what you thought they’d be. You have to give up some control and power to ask for help and seriously consider the ideas that come forward.
But I think you will find that ASKING for input and LISTENING has the potential to dramatically change your outcomes and workplace culture for the better.
CHANGE TWO: Make sure all voices are heard. Give everyone the opportunity to say something.
Again, I’m not suggesting that you send a mic around your all-organization meeting and give everyone the floor, one at a time.
You could do that, but it would take a long time!
Give everyone the chance to say something.
For example, during your next team meeting, ask for input. Give everyone 2-3 minutes to talk with the person next to them. If your meeting is virtual, check out your platform’s ability to have break-out rooms (Zoom has this!).
There are a TON of benefits for doing this. It gives people who are introverted a minute to think before they speak. It gives the extroverts time to think and talk in front of one person…instead of the entire group.
Additionally, it gives the person who is timid or not confident in their ideas to have said idea validated. And increases the likelihood that the idea will be heard by the entire group.
For example, during a meeting, if you ask, “does anyone have ideas for our upcoming Valentine’s Day promotion?”, you may get a variety of answers.
You might get crickets. No one wants to say anything and just looks at their feet or their phones, wondering when the meeting is over.
You might get one or two extroverts talking while they are thinking. They might have a good idea, they might not.
You might have someone feel the need to hear their own voice for 10 minutes talking about every Valentine’s Day AND New Year’s promotion for the past decade (all of which were clearly the speaker’s idea).
UGH. Any of this sound familiar?
Instead, if you ask: “does anyone have ideas for our upcoming Valentine’s Day promotion? Visit with the person next to you [or in a virtual break-out room] for 3 minutes to see what you come up with.”
This makes EVERYONE engage and start thinking about the promotion. It forces people to sit up in their chairs and participate. And direct their brain power towards the promotion.
It allows the extroverts to think and talk for a while…and figure out what they really want to say.
It helps the introverts process.
And in a perfect world, it will help the less-confident team member, or the team member who feels like they have the least amount of power, mention to their partner a dynamite idea.
When you bring everyone back and ask, “what ideas did you come up with?”, you won’t get blank stares.
Ideas will have been validated and built upon by everyone on your team.
And, the idea that might not have been originally shared because the idea owner lacked the confidence? It will now be shared, either because the speaker has gained confidence by the idea being validated by their partner OR because their partner will give them an elbow and say, “you’ve got a great idea – share it!”
Or the partner will say, “hey, listen up! ______ has a dynamite idea!”
And next time, this idea-owner might be a little more apt to speak up and share an idea.
It works. I promise. I watched it transform people week after week while I was teaching, and it was an amazing thing to witness.
Give it a try with your team and see what happens!
Remember that change is freakin’ hard!
Your team might resist the changes — heck, even YOU might resist the changes.
But hang in there. The results will be worth the uncomfortable feelings.
Give it a try. What have you got to lose?
Keep rocking and I look forward to hearing how these changes are impacting your workplace!
P.S. Check out a free download to make your online meetings more effective here.