Thursday 2:00 PM
How the Way We Talk Can Change The Way We Work
Presenters: Beth McNeil & Barbara Preece
Change is a commitment to work and an ongoing process (for everyone)...
The presenters created a Communication Toolbox (exercise) to help analyze self and environment, and to work towards sustainable change. Adapted from Kegan, Robert and Lahey, Lisa Laskow. How the way we talk can change the way we work: seven languages for transformation.
Think of the number of times people walked out of a meeting with completely different perspectives about the discussion and outcomes of the meeting, or about the assumptions that you have made based upon the events that transpired.
Attendees shared their New Year's Resolutions, work related resolutions, as examples of how we want to affect change. How do we stop complaining and move towards making changes and commitments?
Examples of complaints from the audience...how do we accept different work styles, bullying in the workplace, bringing personal expectations into the workplace, entrenchment among librarians that do not want to change, lack of acceptance of changing realities.
Pay attention to the complaints because they are about things we care about. Finding someone to complain to is a helpful release, but it does not create change.
Communication Toolbox Exercise...
Language of Blame...What is your complaint (i.e. I disagree with my director about the direction of reference services at the library)? Next, change your complaint into a statement of commitment (i.e. I am committed to a high level reference services.)
This first part shows what people care about most and to what they are most committed.
Language of Personal Responsibility...Current state (what is holding you back) - What I'm doing or not that prevents my commitment from being fully realized. Who - What individuals are involved in this process?
Competing Commitment (i.e. not fighting a losing battle) - I may also be committed to... Big Assumption (i.e. I cannot convince them of the legitimacy of my perspective) - I assume that if...
Often there is the "dreaded changing of the work flow", people are really afraid that if they change the work flow that the level of service will decline. They are resistant to change out of a commitment to what they perceive as already being a high level of service.
1st Action - I will test my assumption by (i.e. I will give them the responsibility, but they may not be experienced enough)...Outcome - What happened when I tested my assumption (i.e. I showed them how to do it, they are capable, and it is saving me time.).
Parable of the Abeleen Paradox... Four adults sitting on a porch in hot temps near Abeleen, TX. A married couple and their parents, a suggestion is made to drive to Abeleen for lunch, they go in a non-air conditioned car, have a terrible lunch, and return cranky. They then learn that none of them wanted to go in the first place, who should have communicated about this and why?
From the Audience...a greater commitment to continuing to try and make changes.