In Justin Bariso’s article about the right and wrong way to conduct a discussion, he points to the role that emotions play in persuading people to accept or reject your ideas. If, like a prosecutor looking for a win in a high-profile trial, you bombard people with facts and evidence, then there is a significant risk that they will feel threatened, become defensive and be closed to your arguments. This reaction will be amplified if you are in a leadership position. Bariso quotes Jen Dalton, CEO of BrandMirror, “Using facts to change someone’s mind just drives them to double down on their beliefs.” Dalton explains that the source of this reaction is the amygdala, the part of the brain that acts as an “emotional processor” and can overrule our rational thinking processes when we are threatened. 

Allowing a discussion to end in acrimony without a good result is bad at the best of times but can be critical in novel and difficult circumstances. When your people are working from home and communicating by Zoom you may not even be aware that your ideas and facts are falling on deaf ears. In situations such as the current pandemic you cannot be totally confident in ‘facts’ that served you well in more normal circumstances. Dalton suggests taking a non-confrontational collaborative approach, sharing your understanding of a topic and drawing out the ideas of your people. They may know or have thought of things that had not occurred to you. 

While this approach can yield positive outcomes and agreement on solutions to specific issues, it cannot scale to tell you what your people are thinking in general. Unless you have a very small team it is not practical to conduct individual discussions on a regular basis. Fortunately, technology exists that can quickly let you know how your people are feeling about the organisation. In many cases they will know long before you what the issues are. Using technology that acts as a Business Nervous System will give you time to address the issues before they cause major damage, as for example in the cases of Boeing and Volkswagen.

April 21, 2021

Don’t let facts get in the way of the right story

In Justin Bariso’s article about the right and wrong way to conduct a discussion, he points to the role that emotions play in persuading people to accept or reject your ideas. If, like a prosecutor looking for a win in a high-profile trial, you bombard people with facts and evidence, then there is a significant […]

April 1, 2021

Dark side of working from home

Goldman Sachs has had so much business and is doing so well in the pandemic that at least for some junior investment analysts it allegedly means working 100 hour weeks, leaving very little time to sleep, eat and wash. Some might have little sympathy for junior analysts on first year salaries and bonuses averaging $123,500 […]

March 9, 2021

Micromanagement is not the answer

In an excellent article about the challenges of staying in touch with your team in this era of necessary isolation, Kerry Goyette explains why some leaders resort to micromanagement. Micromanagement is often not a preferred leadership style but caused by a feeling that leaders are losing control when they don’t see their teams working as […]

January 8, 2021

Are CEOs getting all the information they need?

Being a CEO is a tough job, especially if you are CEO of a start-up. Bringing information to light about what employees think in an easily understood form, alongside financial information in the BI dashboard would significantly expand the CEO’s knowledge about her or his company.

Woman at laptop
December 21, 2020

White paper by Doctor Mike Carter: Philosophy of the Tensense Model

Organisational Inquiry: General and Simple to Simple and Accurate Leaders Acknowledging Trade-Offs  Curious leaders want to know what’s going on in their organisations, the issues that might be impeding high performance and what their colleagues are really thinking. Curious and determined leaders make it their business to find out the answers to these questions, but […]

December 17, 2020

What should startups digest?

Startups coming to market with a new product are faced with significant challenges. Is their product too much like an existing product or is it so novel that potential customers don’t understand its value or are sceptical?

November 6, 2020

Amplifying the quiet voices

Creating the right organisational culture and psychological safety necessary to give voice to quiet, diffident and dissenting colleagues is a laudable ambition.

November 5, 2020

It’s all about the dashboard!

Most leaders, even if they don’t have a “business intelligence dashboard’ will use key data and KPIs to help them manage the business, spot opportunities and improve performance.

July 29, 2020

The Case for Sensemaking Audits

Creating the right organisational culture and psychological safety necessary to give voice to quiet, diffident and dissenting colleagues is a laudable ambition.