June 19, 2014

Changing the Narrative

We love stories. They give our lives perspective. They help give context to concepts we share. If we can present a new idea that resonates with the audience, it holds more credibility. But if I share an idea with you, you don’t just digest what I'm saying; your beliefs, perceptions, and point of view come into play. Your experience and bias is always part of the equation.

The same happens with team culture. If you work in an environment that encourages sales at all costs but you prefer building relationships first, your time will be challenged. Those who measure success solely by financial gain may tell you to just make more calls because their perspective is relationships are a numbers game.

It’s the way we do it around here

If your leadership style is to give a good portion of your time to help the development of your people to in turn grow the bottom line; someone who tells you the best way to motivate people is through fear, will be a recipe for conflict.

The stories we tell ourselves are powerful. They feed our narrative, perspective, and beliefs. They can become our truth regardless of reality or facts. And it gets even trickier when you have culture comprised of people from different demographics, psychographics, or points of view. This is not to suggest teams succeed when everyone thinks the same way - just the opposite - but if we become rigid, we can close ourselves off from even better ideas.

Turning the camera around

We work with teams all over the world and it becomes blatantly clear, for instance, that adopting a North American management viewpoint with leaders in Asia Pacific can create undue stress. If you have a belief embedded deep inside you, it will require enormous energy for me to first convince you another stance and then share my view. Multiple that dynamic by hundreds or thousands in an organization and you can quickly see how the power of story can morph into complication. But if we accept our differing points of view, we both win.

The stories we embrace can also get in our way.
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Kneale Mann | Leadership Strategist, consultant, writer, speaker, executive coach facilitating performance growth with leaders, management, and teams.

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