Friday, February 12, 2010

3D Juggling 465: Why don’t they listen?

Jane writes: "I have a collection of postcards that I often use when working with groups. I invite group members to rummage through them and find one or two that they can use to help them describe something -maybe how it feels for them to be in their team, or what they want to achieve by the end of our time together. Out of all my postcards there are a few that almost always get selected. One of them shows a child holding the face of her mother in her hands to gain her attention and saying ‘Listen!’.

People use this picture to help them explain how they feel when no-one hears them, or when an organisation is unwilling to hear about issues that an individual or team believe are really important. Sometimes when an individual feels that they are not being heard it may be because they don’t know how to say what they need to say, and sometimes it may be that their target is not able to hear what they’re saying.

There are two things for us to take responsibility for here:
• working out what we need as a result of communicating (‘What is my desired outcome?’) so that we can work out what we need to say
• paying attention to others when they try to tell us something and checking that the message we received was the one they intended us to receive

What difference would that make in your workplace?

Because it can be difficult to do both of these things we offer a tool that helps individuals and teams to understand why they find it more difficult to be heard by some people or groups than others, and what they can do about it. We also use this tool to explore why we find some people harder to listen to than others, and how to help those people to help us to hear them.

We have used this tool to help people to raise difficult issues safely, building relationships where there was a fear that relationships might be harmed. We have used it to help team members resolve conflicts, enabling the team to work effectively so that it can regain credibility with its customers. We have used it to help teams’ present issues to senior managers with the needs of those managers so clear to them that their message, although challenging, was welcomed.

How could this tool help you?"

Love this? Do us a favour and send it to five people. Who thinks like you? You could send it to someone who says listen or who you would like to listen!

Discuss this week's juggling at

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