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Posts Tagged ‘David Rock

Trump is the Id of the Republican Party

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I thought he was a joke. He is—and he is also pure emotion.

TrumpId-2-07232015

“We’re all fired.”

Freud’s “id” was the part of the psyche responsible for uncoordinated instinctual trends. That is also a fair description of Mr. Donald Trump.

If you listen to Trump’s actual words at all, you don’t come away thinking “This man is rationale and thoughtful.” Instead, you come away with an emotional response:

I hate him.

Or

I love him.

Though likely capable of rationale discourse, he would likely choose not to engage in that direction. His traveling theater has always been about emotion and first impressions. Trump says the bias-first stuff that people think before they have actually considered their response. That’s why the media cannot quit him. He’s the clown people cannot stop watching—the guy who keeps poking himself in the eye and lighting his hair on fire.

And—unfortunately—we love it. He’s the perfect foil for our entertainment-obsessed drive to national office.

Our nation deserves a Trump in this race.

Our nation will not survive a Trump in office.

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Dumb Sketch: Kirk Livingston

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Written by kirkistan

July 23, 2015 at 10:51 am

Catalyze This! (Dummy’s Guide to Conversation #26)

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What to do: Engage colleagues or just put up with them?

G15Between David Rock and David Bohm there is a lot of good advice about helping people have productive conversations. Rock’s “Quiet Leadership” is all about helping your friend find the answer she already knows, which is particularly useful for folks with leadership responsibilities. Bohm, on the other hand, was an omni-thinking physicist with deep curiosity about ordinary life connections. Bohm (and Rock, for that matter) are two of my conversational heroes.
Here’s Bohm on how it is that something new gets created between two people (italics added):

Consider a dialogue. In such a dialogue, when one person says something, the other person does not in general respond with exactly the same meaning as that seen by the first person. Rather, the meanings are only similar and not identical. Thus, when the second person replies, the first person sees a difference between what he meant to say and what the other person understood. On considering the difference, he may then be able to see something new, which is relevant both to his own views and to those of the other person. And so it can go back and forth, with the continual emergence of a new content. That is common to both participants. Thus, in a dialogue, each person does not attempt to make common certain ideas or items of information that are already known to him. Rather, it may be said that the two people are making something in common, i.e., creating something new together.

–David Bohm, On Dialogue (New York: Routledge, 1996)

Every day affords some catalyzing opportunity, often hidden in a very ordinary exchange.

How will you leap in to catalyze today?

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Dumb Sketch/Timed Gesture: Kirk Livingston

How to help your teammate hatch an idea (Dummy’s Guide to Conversation #22)

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The satisfying work of relating

Some of us find great joy in the work itself: left alone to turn the block on the lathe or write the intro paragraph—we get a tad giddy. Like we know what we are doing (more or less) and this process is stimulating and fun and I can see stuff taking shape.

A friend with a VP-of-Meetings type brain would often jab me with his love of meetings:

Meetings are great. I don’t know why people hate them so. We get so much done.

When he said this I assumed they were great for him because he enjoyed telling others what to do. And his lackeys went and accomplished real stuff. Were meetings great for his lackeys? I have my doubts.

But for many of us, it is difficult to get that sense of getting stuff done with people. Conversation is a messy business that seems to typically lead into a wilderness of tangents and false starts rather than to a place where real stuff happens. Washington is the current poster child for conversation thwarted at every turn.

Must it be that way?

Can you see how a lot of freight gets shifted in a conversation?

Can you see how a lot of freight gets shifted in a conversation?

I can’t prescribe a cure for Washington (though targeting the removal of big money would be a positive first step), but here’s a few suggestions for helping each other hatch big ideas and get stuff done:

  1. Listen. For real—really listen. And repeat back what your colleague says to make sure you get it and to give yourself time to process what your colleague said. Resist the temptation to formulate a counter-argument while appearing to listen. Listen for potential.
  2. Ask your colleague to say more. Gain clarity for yourself and your colleague. Work out the idea together through a volley of responses.
  3. Breathe. That’s right, take a breath so you can stay in the moment and hear your colleague. They might just do the same for you.
  4. Use your words to precisely parse an idea. It’s easy to get sloppy and quickly dismiss ideas (and people, for that matter). Instead, tease out the potential idea you saw. Give it some kindling and fan it and get the fire going.
  5. Say it out loud to get something done. Pulling together an idea that is scattered before a team is sort of like nailing it to the wall for all to see. Once everyone sees it, they can respond. Grabbing the idea and saying it aloud can often feel like work accomplished. It feels that way because it is exactly that.

We do well to pay attention to what our colleagues are saying. And the more attention we pay, the more wealth of ideas and practical insights we might just find. In fact, some people work this way all the time:

 

When we toss things back and forth, there is no compromise at all. That is when it is magic.

–Millman, Debbie. How to think like a great graphic designer. (NY: Allworth Press, 2007). From Emily Oberman & Bonnie Siegler/ Number 17, p.96

 Also: consider returning to David Rock’s Quiet Leadership and check out his tidy six steps

  1. Think about thinking
  2. Listen for potential
  3. Speak with intent
  4. Dance toward insight (Permission + Placement + Questioning + Clarifying)
  5. CREATE New thinking
  6. Follow up

People are never tools or things we manipulate to achieve our desired end. But honoring each other by listening and talking—that’s how real stuff gets done in the real world.

 

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Image credit: Kirk Livingston

Quiet Leadership by David Rock. How to Help Someone Have an “Aha!” (Review)

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Talk your friend into the answer she already knows

How do you help people connect the dots in their work lives…and in the rest of their lives?  Turns out there is a lot we can do. And our primary tool is conversation. In Quiet Leadership, David Rock gives an overview of (relatively) recent neurological findings to show how our brains remain plastic, that is, moldable and changeable, long after childhood. It was once thought that at some point in late childhood our brains stopped—well, it’s not that they stopped growing, but seemed to create new neural pathways with less frequency. That thinking was all wrong. The truth is our brains are capable of growing new neural pathways all the time—new mental “wiring.” And by calling it “wiring,” Rock hints at the mechanics of how we help each other connect previously unconnected thoughts and motivations. He works at changing our mental wiring using questions about our thinking. Helping people find their own answers is light years more effective than telling someone what to do.

Like most books written for the business market, Rock presents a tidy set of steps to follow. Quiet Leadership has six steps. Each step has a chapter or section attached, so there is a lot of very practical, very interesting information for each. I outline these steps below because after reading the book and getting a sense of the potential, I’m curious to remember and try them:

  1. Think about thinking (focusing on how your conversation partner is thinking about the issue troubling them)
  2. Listen for potential (listening with a belief your conversation partner already has the tools for success)
  3. Speak with intent (Be succinct. Be specific. Be generous.)
  4. Dance toward insight (Conversation really is a kind of dance)
    1. Permission
    2. Placement
    3. Questioning
    4. Clarifying
  5. CREATE new thinking by exploring:
    1. Current Reality
    2. Explore Alternatives
    3. Tap Energy
  6. Follow up (Renewing and restoring the motivational connections by checking in later)

You may be skeptical of tidy steps. You may think “dance toward insight” is too over-the-top. I agree. And yet there is something in what Rock says that speaks to the reality of any conversation. Conversations routinely take off in crazy directions. Conversations often start with a need and we immediately feel helpless to meet the need: we don’t know all the details. Even if we did, we don’t know how our conversation partner is really thinking about the issue.

Rock provides a way to probe thinking (I like how he asks permission to probe) to not only help a person find solutions, but also to help a person be motivated to act on the solution.

I’ll use this book as I teach, with clients, and in general conversation. I highly recommend it.

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Written by kirkistan

August 22, 2013 at 5:00 am

Quiet Leadership by David Rock. How to Help Someone Have an “Aha!” (Review)

with 2 comments

Talk your friend into the answer she already knows

How do you help people connect the dots in their work lives…and in the rest of their lives?  Turns out there is a lot we can do. And our primary tool is conversation. In Quiet Leadership, David Rock gives an overview of (relatively) recent neurological findings to show how our brains remain plastic, that is, moldable and changeable, long after childhood. It was once thought that at some point in late childhood our brains stopped—well, it’s not that they stopped growing, but seemed to create new neural pathways with less frequency. That thinking was all wrong. The truth is our brains are capable of growing new neural pathways all the time—new mental “wiring.” And by calling it “wiring,” Rock hints at the mechanics of how we help each other connect previously unconnected thoughts and motivations. He works at changing our mental wiring using questions about our thinking. Helping people find their own answers is light years more effective than telling someone what to do.

Like most books written for the business market, Rock presents a tidy set of steps to follow. Quiet Leadership has six steps. Each step has a chapter or section attached, so there is a lot of very practical, very interesting information for each. I outline these steps below because after reading the book and getting a sense of the potential, I’m curious to remember and try them:

  1. Think about thinking (focusing on how your conversation partner is thinking about the issue troubling them)
  2. Listen for potential (listening with a belief your conversation partner already has the tools for success)
  3. Speak with intent (Be succinct. Be specific. Be generous.)
  4. Dance toward insight (Conversation really is a kind of dance)
    1. Permission
    2. Placement
    3. Questioning
    4. Clarifying
  5. CREATE new thinking by exploring:
    1. Current Reality
    2. Explore Alternatives
    3. Tap Energy
  6. Follow up (Renewing and restoring the motivational connections by checking in later)

You may be skeptical of tidy steps. You may think “dance toward insight” is too over-the-top. I agree. And yet there is something in what Rock says that speaks to the reality of any conversation. Conversations routinely take off in crazy directions. Conversations often start with a need and we immediately feel helpless to meet the need: we don’t know all the details. Even if we did, we don’t know how our conversation partner is really thinking about the issue.

Rock provides a way to probe thinking (I like how he asks permission to probe) to not only help a person find solutions, but also to help a person be motivated to act on the solution.

I’ll use this book as I teach, with clients, and in general conversation. I highly recommend it.

###

Written by kirkistan

May 16, 2011 at 8:44 am

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