Do you ever feel like your communication goes into a big blank void.
“Hello, is anyone out there?”
A client, let’s call her De Nise 😉, shared this challenge. She sends out emails…and no one responds.
De Nise shared: “It’s an important issue I am writing about. Does no one care? How can I make them more responsible?”
Tapping into Collective Intelligence
I proposed we try a collective-intelligence solution-finding. It is a tool available to you on the Facebook private group SafePlaceToTalkAboutWork. Click below for your invitation to join.
Here is how it works:
- A person shares a work challenge
- I work with that person to clarify the context of the issue
- In a moderated discussion led by me, we invite members of the community to share their perspective and what they would do if they were in this situation.
Did you catch that? NOT what the other person should do. What they would do if they were in that situation.
Why go through this process?
What Collective Intelligence can do for you
You and I can get stuck in our mindset. We think the same way over and over. People are creatures of habit, and each of us has thinking patterns as well.
These thinking routines are helpful in many situations. We don’t have to reflect deeply on how to sit down on a chair during a meeting or on how to open our computers.
Yet we get trapped in patterns of thought.
I remember a very aggitated fellow conference speaker. We were before an audience of several hundred people and he could not get his password to work on the computer. He muttered under his breath: “I have not changed the passcode…The computer worked yesterday!…Do I have a virus? 😨…Why did I not put my presentation on a USB key!….”
And he retyped his password over and over again to no avail.
I suggested he might check the Caps Lock key. “What is it? I never use it. That’s not possible.” Yet this key on the keyboard can get accidently pushed and stay pushed and changes lower case letters into CAPITAL LETTERS. Well, he was typing 3pASSWORD3 instead of “Password” and no wonder his computer did not open.
An outside perspective gave him a solution he would not have considered in his habitual thinking.
Collective intelligence brings fresh perspectives.
Collective Intelligence at #SafePlaceToTalkAboutWork
So what happens on the Facebook private group SafePlaceToTalkAboutWork?
Below is a recap of the exchange between myself and my client as we tapped into collective intelligence.
YOU TOO can experience this constructive group brainstorming first-hand on Thursday, March 12 at 2:00 p.m. Paris time. Click on the button below to get your invitation.
Collective Intelligence Business Case:
No one answers my emails!
My client (we are calling her De Nise) shared her frustrations about no response to emails. Faced with a communication void she lost confidence in herself and began questioning the value of her contributions at work.
(You may have experienced similar feelings over different issues. Feel free to post your specific situation on the group SafePlaceToTalkAboutWork and we’ll help you find alternative answers.)
Example of discussions on SafePlaceToTalkAboutWork:
De Nise No one answers my emails! It’s so frustrating. 😠
Aren’t they concerned? How do I get others to be responsible?
Denise Dampierre It’s a bummer De Nise to feel in an information void. Did you know that our brains are wired to fill in these data gaps…and it does it with thoughts of what we fear:
– “Are they speaking behind my back?”
– “Are they questioning my performance or capabilities?”
– “Is my work insignificant?”
– “Do I have the email version of bad breath (people stay away and you are not sure why)?”
So let’s get a fresh, more positive (and productive) perspective.
We can start by focusing on a specific situation so that we can fill in the data
- To whom was the email addressed? (ex. just to my boss, to my 5 colleagues, to….)
- Can you summarize the message in one sentence?
- How long was the email?
- What did you ask?
De Nise – In this one urgent case, I addressed the email to 5 people, a mix of clients and of suppliers. We are working on a full-day presentation for the client company and the day’s program is timed to the minute. I am the event coordinator. At our rehearsal, the client managers were not ready with their individual presentation. We are heading for a disaster if the client managers speak overtime…and when they prepare at the last minute that is what usually happens. I sent the email to my boss and colleagues at the event management firm, to the client coordinator, and to the venue manager.
No one seems concerned. Am I the only one to be responsible?!
Denise Dampierre – Would you be open to a fresh perspective and to hear what other people might do in your situation?
Denise Dampierre – I presented this situation to my own mastermind group and here are people’s response to the question: “If you were in this situation, what would you do?”
- “I would re-read my email from the perspective of the receiver. Is it clear what is expected of them? Where are there ambiguities? Then I would re-write a short email making a clear request.”
- “I would call up each person concerned and ask them how they view the situation and what they suggest to respect both the timing and the managers’ egos.”
- “I would send out a note about best practices for presentations at an event like this. It would include tips about slides (one point per slide, limit the text, make it legible from afar…). It would indicate an approximate minutes per slide (ex. from 3 to 8 slides for a 5-minute presentation).”
- “I would write an email entitled ‘Action Steps’ and indicate a clear next step such as ‘Managers to submit their slides for a 5-minute presentation by ____ (date).”
- “Are there regular follow-up meetings? I would do nothing now and add ‘Timing and Manager Presentations’ to the agenda for the next meeting.”
- “I would ask my boss what is expected of me. Whose job is it to manage the timing? If it is not my job, then let the other person do it. If it is my job, then I would connect with my counterpart at the client to see how we can better communicate the time-limit to the managers.”
- “I would not take it personally. We get so many emails; they get lost in our mailbox. I would simply send another email…and make the title catchy.”
Denise Dampierre – You mentioned you were willing to try something new. That begins with choosing a novel approach. Which one will you try?
De Nise – I am not comfortable with some of these ideas, but I could send out the guide for best practices with indications of how many slides per minute. This would give us all a reference point and if a manager submits 40 slides, I can refer him back to the guide. I feel more confident this way.
A week later…
De Nise – Well, I ended up doing nothing then and waiting for the next meeting. No one mentioned my email, but we addressed the issue. I realized after our exchange that my email was not clear. It only mentioned a problem and no solution. And it would have been more effective if I addressed the issue either directly with my boss or with my client contact. I am now more conscious of how I write emails.
Thanks. I had felt quite vulnerable, but this ended up being very HELPFUL.
Get your issue resolved with Collective Intelligence
Soooo…what did you think? I would very much appreciate your feedback.
You might prefer to do so in a setting with more confidentiality and even anonymity. (You can use your first name only on Facebook)
Rendez-vous on the Facebook private group SafePlaceToTalkAboutWork !