Change the conversation with yourself,
change your life
One of my favourite leadership books is Change your questions, change your life by Marilee Adams.
She makes a bold claim and she is right.
I had just downloaded the book half an hour before going to meet a client, a senior woman in a consulting firm who was about to go on maternity lead and needed to hand over her biggest clients to a colleague that she didn’t know well.
She was worried he was going to steal them out from under her and all her years of building the relationships and trust would be gone. She was worried she’d come back from maternity leave and have to start again.
I had read the intro to the book and been intrigued with a technique Marilee describes using with one of her clients so decided to give it a try.
I asked my client, what questions are in your mind as you go in to have this handover meeting with him?
Will he give my clients enough time and attention?
How is he going to undermine me?
I pointed out that these questions were all negative and I wondered what a more positive question would be.
After some thought she said she knew he was going for promotion this year but had no large clients that he was taking the lead on. I suppose I could ask myself what I could do to help him with his promotion case?
We explored that more and talked about how she would show up in the meeting with that question in mind.
She left the session sounding more confident and empowered. She felt great, I felt great and absolutely besotted, I devoured the rest of the book. In the next session the true power of this technique came to light.
My client was absolutely beaming. Not only had the meeting gone well but she had a plan for how to bring her colleague into the relationship with her clients rather than just handing them over. And he’d asked her if she wanted catch-ups while she was on leave so she would be up to date on the client when she returned.
She also gave him some pointers on what he could demonstrate to the promotion committee by taking the lead while she was away. No longer concerned about work we spent the rest of the session exploring how her identity and priorities were going to change once her baby was born.
When you go into a situation thinking things like:
What are they going to do this time? or
What actions will I get stuck with this time?
Then it is highly likely you will behave in a way that is congruent with those thoughts.
Your behaviour influences how others respond to you so it’s not really surprise that if your thinking is negative, it will influence your behaviour to be negative and the person your speaking with might pick up on this and their response will also be negative leading to you being more negative that leads to them …. I think you get it.
If you want a different result to one that you are getting you first need to change the conversation with yourself. I find things go much better when I approach tricky situations with curiosity rather than already deciding the other person is against me.
Does this story resonate with you? Drop me a line and let me know either way.