I was curious about the commentators at the Paralympics and something I heard a few days ago. One of the athletes said ” I wish that you would talk about our strengths and not our disability” Now apparently there are also a number of athletes who want people to understand what their disabilities are. I think there is merit in knowing as much as possible, the more understanding we have the more we can support each other. So how does this relate to business and how you lead your team?
From a business perspective we think it is important to share both strengths and challenges but the difference we are suggesting is give them equal attention. It is all to easy in business to focus on what is not working and spend hours trying to solve that problem. So we work from the ethos lets talk about what works for you as an individual/team first and develop a greater understanding of that and then with equal attention and respect review what does not work and what needs to happen for that to work better.
What works for me is that I am great at bringing people together my brain has quite a large visual image at all times and is constantly piecing things together however when it has to come from my head to my mouth their is like a hiccup and certain information gets left behind.
My clients now know that the start is often the thing that is missing and it is a challenge I have. When I have an idea pop in my head and I start speaking I am not always aware that it has come out of the blue so I tell my audience this up front and I ask them to ask where did that come from? if it is not apparent.
I also check if they have all the information they need in case the information I presented is what I needed to say rather than what they needed to hear.
That way the group stay engaged with what I am talking about and I get to the end with great feedback instead of feeling like I wasted my time and they just did not get it. (which use to happen quite a bit)
So please feel free if I ever write something that does not make sense challenge my thinking and ask a question because I want you to understand me.
So let’s imagine the Paralympics introduction.
What if we said:
These are athletes who have 2-3 limbs that are trained and toned to compensate. They have incredible strength in these limbs and have developed extreme core muscles to keep their bodies balanced.
These are athletes who don’t have the use of at least one limb.
These are athletes have highly effective hearing and sense of smell with incredible upper body strength.
Instead of: These are athletes are visually impaired.
I am just curious what difference does it make when you hear the explanation in a different order. Please leave your comments below as the description is read out what picture of that person were you drawing?
Here goes with a business example:
Option 1: Team member one is someone that talks a lot, taking a while to get to the point. Her written work is confusing and her IT/ technical ability resembles that of a 3 year old. Her spelling and comprehension of the English language are at times questionable. She interrupts training sessions by constantly asking and answering questions. She is great with people, she see the potential and often inspires others to achieve more than they thought possible. She challenges people with questions because she has an insatiable appetite to understand you and the information being shared. She sees things from a number of individual perspectives at the same time.
Option 2: Team member 2 is a great co-ordinator she see connections others miss, she is great at hearing what people want and helping them make it happen. She has an incredible memory for people and what matters to them. Her brain works at such great speed her ideas are often ahead of others. Translating this big thinking into written work and in fact anything that involves looking down rather than up takes her longer to master, it can often lack continuity and flow. The ideas seem disjointed at first and irrelevant in writing and can be frustrating to read. Her enthusiasm is often overwhelming.
Recognise your learning
What do you know NOW as a result of reading this, that perhaps you did not know before? if anything?
What difference does knowing that make, if any?
Plan your next best step
What would you like to have happen next?
Please share your comments below, we love to listen.
Thanks for listening,
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