Tips and stories to add value to you and your organisation
Given how people value two it’s surprising how often they focus on one.
We know that two heads are better than one when problem solving. That a companion makes for a more interesting day out and that two can live as cheaply as one.
Yet when we are giving feedback, or wanting to be heard, we often go for one.
One clinching argument. One killer fact. One piece of feedback, that we feel we really have to share, often with no thought to the consequences.
Two has balance and one has imbalance. How many of us own a unicycle? A bicycle makes so much more sense and is a much more comfortable way to get to work.
We love balance and instinctively feel happier with it. Two is more useful and has more power to it.
If we want to be heard then it’s a useful thing to do to offer two comments, so that we deliver a balance of information to the other party. In the same way that it’s easier to eat a meal with a knife and fork.
When I’m coaching, part of the work is to offer insights and thoughtful feedback, to raise awareness and spark new thoughts in my clients.
What I often do is hold out both hands, palms upwards, as if each one is offering a small gift. Then I might say something like this…
“Two things can exist at once. On this side (wiggle right hand) you are clearly working hard and have good intentions. One this side (wiggle left hand) your current performance is below that expected by the organisation. Both of these things exist at the same time, so let’s explore both.”
The client tends to smile at the truth in my words. People tend to have good intentions and want to think well of themselves. At the same time they often know when they are underperforming, so having it literally and figuratively pointed out to them means they have to be present centred and acknowledge it.
We then have a much more productive conversation because the whole truth is out now, on the table.
People are more accepting of the whole truth, as to take one comment, means they have to take both. They can’t choose…both things exist at the same time.
We can use this technique to be heard in any number of ways. From a parenting perspective I might say…
“You are a lovely child and I love you very much. And it is time for bed now so please tidy up.”
There’s a comfort in this balance, which means the words are more likely to be heard and acted upon. It seems much more gentle to me to say both phrases, than simply bark out “bed time!”
Two has equality and it’s lovely to be honest in this way, whether giving feedback, making a point, or simply hustling the children off to bed, so we can finally relax and have that glass of wine we’ve been promising ourselves all day!
(Maybe two glasses of wine!)
So, this week we can all have fun by tapping into the power of two!
Next week: The Mint Tea Story
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