Asking and Listening

I recently attended a mentoring effectiveness seminar for the Menttium Corporation. Menttium has done a fantastic job of developing their leadership development program over the past 20 years and continuously evolving the program by learning from customer and program participant feedback (both mentees and mentors).

Two skills that the seminar emphasized are attributes that all change agents need:

Asking Powerful Questions

When Subject Matter Experts and other employees provide feedback and express challenges with adopting the change, the change team needs to delve to make sure they truly understand the heart of the problem (not just the symptoms).

  1. Acceptable questions:
    • Does everyone know their new roles and the expectations of them?
    • Could you delegate some of the change tasks to someone else?
  2. Powerful questions:
    • Tell me about your challenges in the past with adopting a change and how you / your team handled them.
    • Tell me about the people in your organization who are successful at adopting change.

Powerful Listening

This demonstrates that the change team is interested in the feedback from the Subject Matter Experts and other employees, and lets them know that the change team is seeking to truly understand their perspectives.

  1. Restate what you heard:
    • Am I correct that the main challenge with the change is….?
  2. Clarify:
    • What is the biggest concern / issue that you feel we need to address immediately?
  3. Show empathy:
    • It sounds like this has been a very frustrating experience. I know that change can be hard.

In a recent TED talk, Julian Treasure, an expert on sound, explained that as our society has become so noisy, we have become desensitized and thus people have to scream to get our attention. It is up to us as individuals to set our intention so we can truly hear what’s going on. As we consciously listen, we will live fully and will connect with and understand each other. And once we do that, we can accomplish anything!

About Michelle Smeby

Michelle Smeby is CEO of wHolistic Change, Inc. with more than 10 years of experience implementing enterprise solutions at Fortune 100 companies. Michelle specializes in helping corporations deliver transformational change.
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