How to inspire breakthroughs

Lisa was nervous.  She was a brand new hire on Cy Wakeman‘s team.  The next day she was scheduled to train a group of union workers, people she wasn’t accustomed to working with.

She asked Cy for advice.

“I’d suggest you ask for feedback when the training is over,” Cy shares in her book No Ego.

The day after the session Lisa was back in Cy’s office, this time in tears.

“Well I took your advice and asked for feedback,” Lisa said.

Through her tears she related that the workers had hated the workshop.  One guy stayed afterwards for an hour writing negative feedback on a piece of paper.

Lisa vented and wept for 15 minutes.

Cy took a pen from her desk.  She wrote on a piece of paper:

“I asked for feedback.

I received feedback.

Now I am crying.”

She showed Lisa the paper.  “Are these the facts?” Cy asked.

Lisa smiled.  Then, she began to laugh.

These were the facts.  Everything else was based on an ego-based story.

One of the core beliefs of Cy’s “no ego philosophy” is that our suffering does not come from reality.  Our suffering comes from the stories we make up about our reality.  

As leaders, when team members finish venting, we can help our colleagues edit their stories in real-time by writing down the facts – on a piece of paper or a white board.

Our objective as leaders is not to solve the problem.  Instead, we become a facilitator.  

We inspire breakthroughs by asking questions which help others confront reality.

______________________

Reflection:  Think of a time when a manager or mentor helped me to come up with a solution to a problem.  What was their approach?  How did the conversation go? 

Action: Journal about my answers to the questions above.  Look for insights I can put into action.

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