Bring Together Groups With Opposing Interests – Use Conversational Intelligence®
Listen to Episode 122:
Episode 122 Transcript:
This episode is brought to you by Business Advancement Incorporated – enabling successful leaders and companies to accelerate to their next level of success. On the web at businessadvance.com. And now, here’s Pam and Scott.
Pam Harper: Thanks, Chris. I’m Pam Harper, Founding Partner and CEO of Business Advancement Incorporated, and right across from me, as always, is my business partner and husband, Scott Harper. Hi, Scott.
Scott Harper: Hi, Pam. It’s always a pleasure to join you for another episode of Growth Igniters® Radio. As always, our purpose is to spark new insights, inspiration, and immediately useful ideas for visionary leaders to accelerate themselves − and their companies − to the next level of growth and success. So Pam, today we’re taking on a particularly difficult question that you and I, along with everybody else we can think of, has encountered time and time again: How can people or groups with fundamentally opposing interests come together to create solutions that everyone sees as beneficial?
Pam Harper: This is certainly a question that comes up over and over again, as individuals in our personal lives, in business, in government, and in fact, in every imaginable situation I can think of. Now, let’s draw a distinction between relatively easy to resolve misunderstandings and disagreements, and opposing views that are driven by entrenched interests and beliefs.
Scott Harper: Right. Like the situation we see so often at board and senior management levels where there are fundamentally opposing interests − for instance, between long-term and short-term approaches to innovation and growth, or strategy. Of course you see this in politics, as you’ve said, right now especially.
Now, two of the most common solutions that we see when people come to this kind of situation are compromise and consensus, but this only puts off the problems because it’s win-lose, or maybe just weak agreement.
Pam Harper: That’s true.
Scott Harper: No one has time for the problems to pop up over and over again and derail the conversations that go nowhere.
Pam Harper: Precisely. We work with successful growing companies that are focused on being the disruptors, not the disrupted. One of the best ways we know to do this is to use conversational intelligence®. That’s why we’re delighted to welcome back our colleague and good friend, Judith E. Glaser, who developed the concept of conversational intelligence. Judith is an organizational anthropologist and CEO of Benchmark Communications® Incorporated, and the chairman of the Creating WE® Institute. She’s the award-winning author of the bestselling books Creating WE, and Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results. Judith, welcome back to Growth Igniters Radio.
Judith Glaser: Pam and Scott, I am so thrilled to be back. I always love our conversations, and they spark a lot of new ideas, even while we’re talking with each other.
Pam Harper: That’s true. That’s conversational intelligence.
Judith Glaser: Exactly.
Pam Harper: We see that conversational intelligence has become a vital leadership skill for CEOs. What’s happening in the business environment that’s created this need?
Judith Glaser: It’s really a fascinating thing, but the speed of change is so rapid now that a company can decide to be born one day and actually be born the next day. What it takes to bring people together then requires a whole different set of business skills that enable people to really understand each other, to move out of confusion or complication or, as you mentioned, consensus building and compromise, right? Those don’t work anymore. That’s what has held companies together for hundreds of years.
Pam Harper: And people still talk about that as being the optimal condition. You know, “let’s reach consensus.” However, I see that the moment that an obstacle comes up, that consensus disappears. That’s why it doesn’t work.
Judith Glaser: And rightly so, because what’s also happening in the world is that you have the millennial generation that wants to have a voice. They don’t have a tolerance for consensus and compromise. Truthfully, they would rather walk away from a company than feel that they have to compromise on an idea that they know is great, or join in with others just for the sake of quieting voices. It doesn’t work for them at all. Truthfully, I’m pleased to hear that because it’s not as healthy a state as what conversational intelligence is teaching us, and is better for people that are wanting to do great work together in business.
Scott Harper: Now, there are groups that seem, on their surface at least, to have irreconcilable differences. Give us an example of how conversational intelligence can help with this kind of thing.
Judith Glaser: You said a word that I want to go back to. You said, “On the surface it appears that it’s irreconcilable.” That’s the first piece of conversational intelligence wisdom that I really want to bring out on the table. Two things happen when we get into a conflict. There’s a highly intense sense of ownership for the outcomes, right?
Pam Harper: That’s right.
Judith Glaser: That’s what happens. People are vested. It’s their baby and they want it to be born. When that happens, our listening closes down, the parts of our brain that normally would be very highly receptive to other human beings, the prefrontal cortex and heart, become clogged up, and the doors are locked and the keys sometimes are thrown away because people start out priming themselves for things being irreconcilable, number one. Once you do that, they are irreconcilable. Our brain is very adaptive to what our wishes are. If you believe, if you go into a situation believing that there’s no chance for any kind of success, then you will have no chance for success.
Scott Harper: That’s very existential.
Judith Glaser: It is.
Pam Harper: But I think there’s the other piece of it though, which is everybody goes into the situation in these cases thinking that they’re right. Not even that it’s irreconcilable, but they say, “My view is the view. It’s the right view.”
Judith Glaser: Their views may be right, in fact, for the context that they are thinking of when they think about their idea or the world view that they’re thinking about. But what we have learned is the most important fundamental insight that everybody who understands and learns conversational intelligence says, “Oh, I’m so grateful that you made this one of the core understandings.” That is that every human being, while we are sitting in the same room and listening to the same meeting, every human being is mapping what they’re hearing differently because we don’t just map the words that are being said. We map the presence of patterns that we are doing. Our brain is doing multiple things as we’re in that meeting listening and sharing words together.
Number one, most importantly we’re mapping the patterns that coexist and already exist in our brain to prove that what we know is right, because being right is important. Being right, not making mistakes, is what we’ve been trained from the time we’re little when the parent said, “You blew it. You sit in the corner in the punishment chair,” to the teacher that gives us grades, and A is the best and if you make one mistake, mistakes are bad, to going into businesses where you can’t make mistakes either. When in fact, the newest thinking on innovation is all about making mistakes and learning from them, because the mistakes or the bad ideas, in quotes now, “bad ideas” are what activate the best ideas.
Again, we’re learning so much about the neuroscience of our brain that we’re disrupting the knowledge that we knew and believed. The fact is that people have conflict; conflict is good. Conflict is not bad. What happens is we jump to the conclusion that we have to be right because we’ve been rewarded with dopamine for our whole lives, from the time we’re little babies coming out, until the time we’re in this moment. We have to disrupt all of that learning and come up with a new language, and that’s what conversational intelligence is.
Scott Harper: So people get locked into their positions, and conversational intelligence can unlock that as you say. Can you give us a story where you put that into action?
Judith Glaser: There’s so many. So, so, so many. I want to pick the hard ones because people say, “Oh, that’s not possible.”
Scott Harper: Okay, go ahead.
Judith Glaser: One is a guy from Verizon. He was reporting to the CEO. He ran a financial group. They were raising money and investing money for Verizon, and very important to the CEO. He had a bunch of people that reported to him. The top four were the most important in this story. It turns out that one of them ended up in the hospital with a heart attack and said that he would gladly give up his pension of 25 years to not have to work with this guy again.
Scott Harper: Oh, my.
Judith Glaser: Yeah. But what we unfolded after his story was that there were the other three people who also reported to this guy who were so afraid to share that they couldn’t work with him that they held it in. Basically all four were suffering from almost cardiac arrest.
Pam Harper: Oh.
Judith Glaser: Yeah. They finally said to him, “Look, you know, you’ve been one of the best people in our company, but something’s going on that’s causing us health problems and we have to get you a coach.” He said, “Fine.” He interviewed 13 coaches. I’ve never met anybody who’s had to interview 13 coaches to find the one they wanted. He picked me. I asked him why, knowing he had talked to so many other people. He said, “Because you’re the first person that didn’t say, ‘I’ll work with you on your problems.'”
He said, “I don’t have problems.” In other words, just being called something negative like, “You have problems,” was not something that he was comfortable with. His identity was that he was one of the best that the CEO ever hired and that he had to find the right people, and maybe he needed to fire his people and get new people because he was right.
Pam Harper: He was thinking he had one set of interests. He was right and all these other people were wrong − opposing interests?
Judith Glaser: That they didn’t see reality, which is they had opposing realities than he did. If he pushed them, for example, to rewrite one of their reports, and he would say, “You have to keep going. You have to keep going. You have to keep changing and it’s not good enough.” He would red mark it. Red marks in and of themselves are what we remember from school when teachers say we’re bad and we have to fix it. His view was, “I need to do this for you so that it’ll make you better.” Their comments were, “We’re getting more and more frightened about being able to be successful.”
Scott Harper: So it was a really severe situation. How did conversational intelligence break through that and build a bridge?
Judith Glaser: What I did first is I believed that I had to hear him, really hear him. I had to stand under his reality. This is part of what we … When we talk about building trust, it’s being transparent with each other. The word trust, building a relationship with him that was strong about supporting him, and then you standing under his reality. I had to spend the first coaching times with him really listening and identifying what he wanted to create. What was his aspiration in the workplace? I didn’t call it a conflict of interest. I took those words out of my language and said, “This guy is so committed to something that’s good. He wants to raise the bar.” I reframed, which is a conversational intelligence concept, I reframed what he was presenting to me so that I didn’t go in with what the other 12 coaches did, which was, “You have a problem. I’m going to fix you, and then things are going to be great.”
Pam Harper: So then he would have been braced for a fight.
Judith Glaser: Correct. Right, and would have argued more and defended. He started to in the beginning defend why he did the things he did with his team. I could see that defensiveness. I could see he wasn’t ready to listen to me, and I made sure that I spent a lot of time listening to him, taking good notes, asking more questions, making him feel that what he was doing was valued. I took away the conflict. I took away my positional approach that the other coaches suggested that they would take with him. They said, “We’ll be tough with you. We’ll make sure we’ll rise to the occasion and blah, blah, blah.” Whatever they said made him feel he was going to have to fight them. I took away that fight.
When I felt the difference, when I saw him listening to me, that was my cue that he was open to me. I said, “How about let’s do an experiment. Because there’s so many good things that you want for your people, and we want to make sure that these are the best people for you and that what you’re trying to create, this environment of achievement and putting in the extra work and then getting better results because of it …” Those were things he wanted. I said, “Let me do an experiment with you. You have a meeting coming up. Have you ever asked the people on your team to contribute to the agenda?” He said, “No, I usually do it because I’m driving the car basically. I’m driving this and I know what the CEO wants.” I said, “Well, why don’t you do an experiment and ask them before they come in what ideas they want to put on the table for the meeting?” He did it.
Then I said, “When you’re in the meeting, I’m not going to be there with you. I want you to use what’s called pull strategies. I want you to pull instead of push. If you’re used to telling them what to do and having them answer you questions and things that you have on the agenda, pull and say, ‘What other things do you want on the agenda?'” He only had one thing to focus on: this concept of pulling, which is asking more questions than telling people what to do. He did it, and it was a simple thing.
Instead of trying to fight with him about what he was doing and why it was bad, and giving him all the rationale and having him try to see, which is what we do when we’re in conflict with someone and we have a different point of view, different vested interest. We just continue to find different ways to make us right and them wrong, no matter how we do it. When that strategy is used, that’s what it feels like. I didn’t do anything. I took that off the table. He went in the meeting and he started to pull and ask them more questions. It was quite an interesting conversation … I wasn’t there, but I heard because I got a call from all of his people that day and the next day saying and asking, in different words but the same thing, “What did you give my boss to drink?” He was so different.
Pam Harper: That’s funny.
Judith Glaser: He was so different. He was so different. Now, he didn’t even realize it, because he had never done this before; he didn’t realize the extent to which it felt so different to his people.
We had to then take some steps after that where up to this point his team refused to be in the room with him to talk about him because they were afraid they would get fired. I created a conversational space that everybody felt safe in being in together. We started to talk about different leadership strategies. We built him up, which was the right thing to do, that he had such good intentions. Focusing on intention and impact is very different than having people try to beat each other up for who’s going to have the winning strategy?
Pam Harper: Wow.
Judith Glaser: Right? Yeah.
Pam Harper: Yes. I mean, so many powerful lessons are coming out of this. The thing that really strikes me, Judith, is that when you reframe the conversation and you make it about something that doesn’t threaten the person, they become more open to trust and they start becoming more willing to experiment with different ways of being. It’s a virtuous cycle after a point, isn’t it?
Judith Glaser: What was most fascinating about what happened with this gentleman − He’s still at Verizon, by the way − he had so much to give. He did have high standards. Everybody who knows that leadership, as you raise the bar, you get better results and you even surprise people. He had that in him. He just didn’t know how to develop his people. He didn’t know that was the missing link. I had to find it and then help him with tools. I didn’t have to do much. Once he got it, he started to buy every book he could find on … You know, Who Stole My Cheese? All the easy books, all the way up to the more complex, because he didn’t realize that his approach was damaging the talent of his team, rather than building it.
Pam Harper: We’re going to take a quick break. When we come back, we’ll talk more with Judith E. Glaser, CEO of Benchmark Communications, about using the power of conversational intelligence to build bridges between opposing interests. Stay with us…
Scott Harper: You are listening to Growth Igniters Radio with Pam Harper and Scott Harper. We’re brought to you by Business Advancement Incorporated, on the web at businessadvance.com. We enable successful companies to accelerate to their next level of innovation and growth. If you like what you’re hearing, spread the good word. Go to growthignitersradio.com, select Episode 122, and use the share links for Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter at the top of the page to tell your social media communities all about us.
Pam Harper: Welcome back to Growth Igniters Radio with Pam Harper – that’s me – and Scott Harper. Scott and I are talking today with Judith E. Glaser, author of Conversational Intelligence, about using the power of conversational intelligence to go beyond compromise or consensus to building bridges between people with opposing interests. Judith, how can people find out more about you, your books, and Creating WE?
Judith Glaser: Our website is creatingwe.com. On that site there is lots of really interesting things, from blogs that people could listen to, to resources. That’s one of two websites. The second is conversationalintelligence.com.
Pam Harper: And of course you can find out more in the resources section for this episode of Growth Igniters Radio by going to growthignitersradio.com and selecting Episode 122.
Judith Glaser: Pam, one other thing I wanted to mention is when I wrote the book Conversational Intelligence, I wrote it so that it would be specifically my voice was to connect with everyone who reads the book, to know that I’m a coach that is standing by them and by their side, and is here in each of the chapters to provoke a different way of thinking. Like we did about the story that we shared with each other in the first segment, is to begin to think differently about what it means to be in conversations. There’s lots of things to experiment with if people want to get started and see how they can have a big impact on their own lives.
Pam Harper: Well, I highly recommend this book. Scott and I both recommend this book to just about everybody we know. It’s so profound. I always enjoy learning from you, and have been learning from you actively.
Scott Harper: We use those principles every day in the work that we do.
Pam Harper: So, what is the most common misunderstanding about leading conversations with groups that have fundamentally different interests?
Judith Glaser: People spend a lot of time with each other if they work in teams or they work in departments, and so they think that … It’s a belief that isn’t true. It’s a blind spot in a way. They believe that just because they work in the same environment that they are really in the same environment, when in fact, human beings by nature map the environment that we’re in, take that environment into us, and we build a platform of beliefs on top of the picture that we’ve made of the world in front of is.
I grew up in a movie family. If you take your movie camera and you do a long shot, you have one view of the landscape. You can see all the trees and the houses and so forth. If you do a medium shot or a close-up, you have a completely different view of what’s going on in front of your eyes. Human beings work that way. Their eyes go long shots, medium shots, close-up shots. Then once they take that shot, they start to build things on top of it. If I take a shot of you, and pardon me if I use this example. I would never think this about either of you, but if I take a snapshot of you and I say, “Wicked person,” as we have those moments with each other, we then create spots in our brain for each person that we interact with. We give them labels based on the moment of interaction and we build a story about that person, that narrative, or about that environment. That’s what we remember.
I had a guy, for example, in a meeting at NASA. He didn’t want to open up too much. He was very introverted, but when we asked him if he could explain why, he said, “Because I just don’t want to share too much because people will take what I’m doing and steal it.” He had all these horrible things associated with sharing. I said, “Well, let’s do a test. Why don’t you share something and then we’ll check out and see if your theory’s right?” He shared something that he hadn’t normally shared, and when we went around the room to ask what people remembered, people said they didn’t remember what he said. They remembered what they thought about what he said.
People assume that people really hear what we say and then remember every word. When a leader says, “Remember, I told you to do it this way. Why did you do it that way?” The reason is that the person was putting in their head a different messaging system associated with that particular situation. It’s what they were thinking about while the leader was describing it. Those are examples of why we get into conflict with each other and have these opposing views and opposing interests. We map differently.
Pam Harper: So I remember when we were talking a while back you were telling us that you actually were even able to do this with people with opposing political views. That would be some of the most intractable of the opposing interests, and you were able to actually use conversational intelligence to create a bridge that way. Can you tell us briefly about that?
Judith Glaser: I have to share with you that going into this particular engagement, I was really nervous for the same reason that you just described. That the government tends to have very strong points of view. There are rules that you follow. You get punished if you don’t follow them. The government makes more money on people doing things wrong than they do on them doing things right. I was invited to design and facilitate a two-day event. We had 160 plus people there. Half of the people were from the government. Half the people were from this interest group that the government was now starting to fine heavily for what they did.
Here’s what they did. Over 100 plus years ago, the idea of loaning money, lending money like a bank, to people that need it became very popular. Many families did that as their main business, so you could be into the third generation of lenders. This meeting was that the government was saying that people that were lenders of money were charging too much. They wanted to heavily tax those people. They assumed − here’s an assumption − that all the people that were in this area called lending were part of this bad group of people that were now surcharging everybody. Sometimes somebody could pay 70% on a dollar. I mean, the government said, “This is ridiculous. I’m either going to close down this whole industry, or we’re going to tax them so that they stop doing this.” It turned out that the people in the room were a different breed. They weren’t people that were charging 70% on the dollar. They were families who had been in this multi-generations, and they were charging 15% or 20% on the dollar, which is reasonable for what they’re doing. Well, the government didn’t know that. They made the assumption that they were all baddies. They decided that they couldn’t find the goodies in the pile to just separate them out, so they’re just going to put a chunk of extra high tax. I was there to help figure out − Talk about opposing views.
Scott Harper: Oh, yeah.
Judith Glaser: Yeah, right?
Pam Harper: Yes.
Judith Glaser: You have all these families who were showing up. Some may have been the baddies, but what we surfaced in the meeting, and what enabled it, is that I do a thing in conversational intelligence call “double clicking.” Double clicking is where I try to break through these assumptions. In our first segment, we talked about how we map reality differently. Because of that, people form belief systems based on their reality, like the government assumed, “Uh, most of these people are baddies so we’re going to tax all of them.” Here were these people that had been third generation doing the right thing going out of business. This was their family major business. They were like mini banks. I had to open up peoples’ thinking about believing that there were goodies and there are baddies, not just all baddies, which is hard when that’s what the go … I mean, the government looks for that and then charges taxes because that’s how the government makes money. They said, “We can’t stop. You know, we don’t have the ability to check out every person. We don’t want to close you guys down, so we’ll just tax you.” That was their conviction. That was day one.
I had to enable conversations to take place so that people could learn how to double click, learn more about who the people were in the room, learn more about each other’s vested interests, and open to change interests. I had to start categories of conversation that they had never had before. I listened to the government officials giving their little speeches, as well as people in the room giving their little speeches. You could hear how hurt these lenders were, because they had spent three generations building up these businesses to help people. They were now being accused of being baddies.
Pam Harper: For the benefit of people who are not familiar with double clicking, can you explain what that is?
Judith Glaser: Yep. What I believe is that when people use words, sentences, phrases, concepts, they have a meaning to the person, but just like opening up a flower that looks like it’s just a tulip, when you open it up you see all these different petals inside. You don’t see the petals until you open up the flower. In the same way, you don’t really see the details until you open up the concepts that people are using in conversation. We just call it a tulip and that’s it. Everybody knows what a tulip looks like. Lo and behold, when you open up the tulip and you see there are different colored petals inside, and some have more dents and some have less dents … Conversations, every word we use, if we double click on words, even if they’re common to us, like if you use the word mother and I say, “Yeah. Yeah, my mom had some things in common, but tell me. I’m hearing your mother’s different in some ways. Tell me more about what she is,” rather than assuming that just because I know the word, I know what it stands for. That’s where they were getting stuck in the government, the government saying, “We can’t go to each person and check them out, so there are enough baddies that you’re all baddies and you all get taxed.”
Pam Harper: You know, it’s interesting because in our vocabulary, we often don’t realize that we are saying the same thing and meaning something different. Your story sounds like double clicking was a huge deal.
Judith Glaser: Huge. It was huge. It asked people to have patience. It asked people to be willing to be influenced, which is another conversational intelligence essential, being open to influence. I mean, that may sound like so little, but imagine you’re sitting in a room together and people are wanting to influence each other and people are saying, “Yes. Yes.” You go to certain countries where they say, “Yes. Yes.” They don’t want to get into conflict. This saying, “Yes. Yes, of course. I hear you. Yes, I’ll take that into consideration,” and then they don’t. Right. Anyway, the idea of shifting behaviors, listening behaviors. These are very simple, but they’re not because people aren’t doing them. Double clicking to find out really what a person means, asking questions for which you don’t have answers. These are each individual essentials. Most people ask questions for which they do have answers because they’re looking for a confirmation that they’re right.
Scott Harper: Right. I have a question for you, Judith. You’ve talked several times about how different parts of our brain influence how we take things in and how other people take us in, and how we have to adapt and listen with different parts of our brain and different parts of ourselves. That sounds right, and yet how do we do that? Because so much of what we think is not verbal; it’s nonverbal, it’s instinctive. How do we open up these different parts of ourselves so that we can be more receptive and help other people be more receptive to us?
Judith Glaser: I know we don’t have tons of time, so I’m going to give your listeners some quick exercises that they can do, okay? First of all, our language has evolved in us, us meaning you, me, and everybody who’s listening, from the time we’re very little. Even now we know that babies listen to their mothers who talk to them and they already come out with some linguistic capabilities. When we think about the different brains … I’m going to tell you that this year we are now anointing what we call our sixth brain. We’re bringing our sixth brain. I talked about the five brains. I will list them, and then I’ll tell you what people can do with them just to practice, to get them warmed up.
We have the heart brain, believe it or not, it’s a brain. It has more afferent nerves that go from the heart up to the brain than any other connections in the body. It’s constantly providing information, chemical information, how much we have of certain types of hormones. That’s provided to the brain, so the heart brain is one. The primitive brain, which is the lowest brain − if you put your hand on the back of your neck, that’s breathing and drinking and staying alive part of our brain, the primitive brain. We have the limbic brain, which is in the center of the brain. That’s more of the emotional brain, but emotions don’t live alone. This part of the brain, the hippocampus, has a big storage, like a big hippo, for remembering everything, mapping and remembering everything, okay?
Then we go into the brains that the teachers think that they need to activate for learning. That’s the neocortex. That’s my least favorite brain, even though that’s the one that has been favored by teachers, by parents, and everything. That was thought to be the left brain, the right brain, how we learn, what we remember, all the things. We store a lot of things in that brain that we can call up. They’re memories that we can use. It works in tandem with the hippocampus or the limbic brain. These are our memories.
The last two that I’m most excited about. If you put your hand on your forehead, that’s the prefrontal cortex. That is the newest brain. It was also called the executive brain. That brain actually has wisdom, insight, integrity, strategies, empathy, and compassion, foresight. Did I say insight? I mentioned insight and trust.
Pam Harper: Yeah.
Judith Glaser: When you think about those qualities and think about, “What if all people could have access to those qualities and use them on a daily basis, how different our world might be. People with entrench interests might use their heart to listen instead of their neocortex head that’s constantly saying, “I know that. I know that, and mine’s better. I know that.” Each one of our brains, we talk to. When I say, “I want to use my gut,” which is the last brain, gut is connected to instincts. Gut is connected to patterns. If we say to each one of our brains at one time or another, you say, “During this day, I’d like to use my gut brain to help me make decisions and interact with other people. So gut, I’m giving you a name. Your name is Charlie,” or Sarah, or whatever it is, “and when I go into situations, now I want you to be with me.” You prime yourself to activate the intelligence of that particular part of your brain suite. Then you see what happens.
If you say, “I want to use my heart brain, and that means that I want to listen through my heart,” and so as I hear you, I’m actually opening up different pathways. My body really is ready to do this. We’ve been trained to do this. We just don’t call these parts of our brain up. We go to the neocortex. What do you know? You’re right, you’re wrong, and you’re in conflict. This is some of the newest, newest, newest knowledge that we have about how the brain works, how to make your brain your friend. There are lots of books about different topics like this, but we go into the neuroscience to help people understand how ready these parts of the brain are to support you and make you as successful as possible with others.
Pam Harper: So becoming aware of all the different parts of your brain, not just some of the parts of your brain, is another powerful way to get more in touch with not only yourself, but with what other people are feeling and thinking as well. We’re going to take a quick break, and when we come back we’ll talk more with Judith E. Glaser, CEO of Creating WE, about actionable steps you can take when you are inevitably faced with the challenge of finding common ground between opposing interests. Stay with us…
Scott Harper: This is Growth Igniters Radio with Pam Harper and Scott Harper. We’re brought to you by Business Advancement Incorporated, and we’re on the web at businessadvance.com.
Pam Harper: Based upon feedback we’ve received, we’ve learned that some of you prefer to listen to podcasts, and others prefer to read short, timely posts, so we’re innovating. Starting with this episode, we’ll release a new Growth Igniters Radio episode every two weeks. On alternate weeks, members of our community will receive a short, thought-provoking blog post. We’ll give our perspective on an emerging trend or news item and how it could impact your company’s continued growth and success. We’ll also include a tip to help your company continue to be the disrupter and not the disrupted.
Scott Harper: Join the Growth Igniters community today, and as a special bonus we’ll immediately send you one of our most popular Harper Reports: How To Take Control of the “Elephants in the Room.” This is a major issue that can make or break growth and success for any company. Every company has elephants, the things that everyone knows are going on and no one wants to talk about.
Pam Harper: In the report, we discuss not only why elephants exist, but how to stop them from derailing your company’s success. We also give you steps that you can immediately take to create the conversations that are critical to dramatically accelerate momentum.
Scott Harper: This special bonus offer ends October 15th, 2017, so join the Growth Igniters community today. Go to growthignitersradio.com and click “Sign Up Now.”
Pam Harper: Welcome back to Growth Igniters Radio with Pam Harper and Scott Harper. Over the last two segments, Scott and I have been talking with Judith E. Glaser, author of Conversational Intelligence, about how we-centric thinking and behavior increases the quality of our collaborations. Judith, how can people find out more about you, your books, and Creating WE?
Judith Glaser: We have two websites. One is called actually creatingwe.com, and the second is called conversationalintelligence.com. Those are the two websites that we have, plus of course getting ahold of the book, reading it. I will invite anyone who has a major question to reach out to you. If you’d like to have them connect with me, that would be fantastic. I want to see people that are curious about this work to extend it in their lives and see what impact and difference it makes. For me it’s still magic, I have to tell you both.
Pam Harper: It is. It’s pretty amazing. I really encourage people to take advantage of this offer. We have been talking in the last couple of segments, and especially the last segment, you were starting to get into these different parts of the brain, which strikes me a little bit as patting the head, rubbing the tummy. You know, when you try to do it all at once?
Scott Harper: Getting into the gut. Yeah.
Pam Harper: Right. We were getting into the gut when we left off. Let’s make it really practical. So many people have been listening. They tell us they listen when they’re driving, they’re listening when they’re exercising, they’re listening when they’re flying. What is something that somebody could do right now, three quick things that could prime them for listening to their brains?
Judith Glaser: One of the most important things is something that’s invisible. In fact, a lot of the things that are behind conversational intelligence are invisible. We have the phrase, “Let’s make the invisible visible.” I’m going to do that. I’m going to do that.
First of all, our bodies are hardwired for chemical interactions. Because of that, time and space and intensity are important to the internal execution of what we think of is just speaking, because that’s how the brain is hardwired. That’s how the chemicals and the cells work together. The experiments that I would love people to try may seem simple and hard to imagine that these would make a difference, but I’m going to suggest that you play with these and see for yourself.
The quick setup story is that I got a call from someone from out of the country, from Australia, who said, “I just listened to you speak and I think you could help my daughter.” The daughter’s story is that she had been to many, many doctors who could not diagnose what she had. They said that maybe she was autistic, and they moved to a farm where she had horses and sheep. It goes on and on about all the things that they did, still with the unanswered question, “What’s going on with our daughter?” She said, “My gut is telling me …” That’s the gut speaking now. She said, “My gut is telling me that you’re going to give me something that I could do that no one else has done with my daughter.” I said, “In fact, I am.”
As I listened to this woman, I listened that she had a lot of push energy. We talked about pull energy in our early story in the first segment. I asked her to shift from push to pull, and ask questions that she didn’t have answers for, ask those questions when she’s in a conversation with her daughter. Not threatening questions like, “Why did you do this?” or, “Why did you do that?” but, “Tell me more about what you were thinking,” to pull it out of her daughter. I asked her to listen to connect, not judge or reject, because you could hear … Again she had graduated from Harvard in a masters degree, or whatever, an MBA on top of other things, and so she was strong-willed, strong-minded. That push energy that she had was felt by her daughter and closing her daughter down. I’m interpreting now what the solution to her problem was. You could hear it coming out now. I had her change those subtle things that you couldn’t see, and then I said, “Leave space before you respond to your daughter, because you have to give her space to step into a conversation with you. You’re pushing her away.” She did that. She called me the next day and she said, “Oh my goodness, this was the most amazing conversation that I ever had with my daughter.”
The pass-along to everybody is going to be three things that they can take away and practice. What happened? I got to see her. I flew to Australia. I was invited to speak there. She hosted my visit for two weeks with Rich, my husband. We got to see her daughter three years later. They moved off the farm into the city. Her child was in a private school with brilliant kids. She turned out to be extraordinarily brilliant. Should could not put words to the brilliance of her mind at a young age because she was thinking beyond what most kids her age were thinking. That is what started to come out. She was literally … I said she was like a rabbi. She was like a priest. She had wisdom that is beyond knowledge. It was amazing wisdom. She went on to be extraordinarily successful in her classes, the president of her class, and so forth. It goes on.
The three things that people can experiment with − they are how the brain works. It’s how the chemistry of the brain works. Create the space for people to respond. Don’t jump in with your answer. Don’t show them that you have it before. People pick all those cues up. Believe me, we know we see those things. Calm down. Allow people to process with you. Ask questions for which you don’t have answers so that you start to engage at a higher level. We call that “level three.” Listen to connect, not judge or reject, so that when you’re judging and rejecting you’re waiting for what they’re going to say next and you already have a better thing to say. You’re in competition with them in some way conversationally.
Listen to connect, not judge or reject. Ask questions for which you don’t have answers, and create the space for people to connect. Three things people can do. Life-changing. Life-changing.
Pam Harper: Yes. Yes. Yes. I’m just taking that in and thinking that so often when people have opposing interests, they’re so thoroughly entrenched in thinking … It’s where we started, that the things that you’re talking about right now, listening to connect and asking questions in a way that doesn’t make people feel defensive and you don’t have all the answers, that would make such a profound difference, because if people really were open to the other and could take a look at things from the other’s point of view, we could start coming up with answers and solutions that go beyond what any one group has rooted in terms of what they think they should accomplish.
Scott Harper: The answer is not my answer. The answer is not your answer. It’s in between there somewhere, and we need to create it and discover it.
Judith Glaser: And it’s our answer, and that’s why we-
Pam Harper: Absolutely. It’s our answer.
Judith Glaser: Yeah. Interestingly enough, the word collaboration, people say, “Oh, let’s learn how to collaborate better,” in companies. Collaboration in the dictionary, and I wrote a dictionary for Random House 30 years ago so I know what it takes to come up with definitions and so forth, collaboration came out of the military, the war years. It means cohorting with the enemy.
Pam Harper: Well, we’ve come a long way.
Judith Glaser: We’ve come a long way. We have come a long, long way, and that’s why one of our tools is called the conversational dashboard. It has the co-creating as the far right, which means that it’s a different word. It goes beyond collaboration. It’s co-creating. We need new rules and new ways of being together to really make that happen. That’s kind of the impetus behind this book is we have a whole new language. Conversational intelligence provides that new language. People experiment with things because they are open to learn them, and they discover that even when you co-create new terms together with people, that’s a high point for people, creating together, co-creating language together that helps explain what they’re trying to say. We are so young, believe it or not, in our understanding of how language influences our body and our mind and our hearts. Conversational intelligence, it’s a very young discipline now. It’s the neuroscience of conversations that’s new. I go all around the world now looking for scientists who have insights that can help us begin to crack this code. It’s a big one.
Pam Harper: It is, and I’m sure that there are going to be a lot of new insights that you’re going to continue to come up with. We want to be here to share them with you.
Judith Glaser: Awesome.
Pam Harper: Thank you so much again for sharing all these insights with us and our listeners.
Judith Glaser: You’re welcome. It excites me. I know how much you believe in this and practice it and are excited about it, right? What I call my dream team, that this gives me a sense that you’re part of my dream team and together we’re bringing this to people all over the world. You have so many people that listen to you now. It’s exciting to know that they can get access to this and become mentors of an experiment that can potentially change their life.
Pam Harper: Absolutely.
Scott Harper: Thanks so much, Judith. And thanks to you out there for listening to Growth Igniters Radio with Pam Harper and Scott Harper. To check out resources related to today’s conversation, share on social media, read Judith’s bio, or open a conversation with us, go to growthignitersradio.com and select Episode 122.
Pam Harper: Until next time, this is Pam Harper …
Scott Harper: … and Scott Harper …
Pam Harper: … wishing you continued success, and leaving you with this thought to discuss with your team.
Scott Harper: How can we collectively co-create and increase our conversational intelligence so that we can build bridges for mutual benefit, no matter what our perspectives?