Last week in my Goldilocks & Preconceived Ideas post I asked you AND myself the question “what if we work on not having preconceived ideas when we go into conversations?”
I don’t know about you, but it took a lot of effort for me to stop making assumptions based on:
> past experience with the person I was talking to
> similar conversations I’ve had with other people
> my brain jumping ahead to solution instead of listening
None of those things actually helped me put the puzzle together. Instead, they made me less effective.
Knowing that habits are easier to replace with a new behavior instead of stopping cold turkey. I put a question plan into effect.
Anytime I caught myself making assumptions, I asked a question. Here are a few I’ve written down to help.
> “this sounds a lot like a conversation we’ve had before, how is today different?”
> “I’m curious what correlations you see between ___________ and ___________?”
> “What have you tried in the past?”
> “I worked with someone on something similar, does it makes sense to share what worked there?”
> “You’re not alone! I do want to hear the rest before jumping to conclusions.”
> “I’ve had a similar experience but want to learn more about what is going on before I share.”
> “I have to apologize, my brain jumped ahead 3 steps, repeat that last part please.”
> “I’ve put some pressure on myself to solve this, when I should be listening! Please continue.”
> “I have some ideas bouncing around in my head, let me make a note before you continue.”
This may seem suspiciously like sales conversation advice. It works there as well! I guess I see leadership as selling an intangible idea. The idea of working together to achieve a goal.