Here’s my Monday Email to Leadership Reno County Alumni on 2/17/14:
We’re always on the look out for new and exciting ways to press you into thinking differently, to not be about “work avoidance” (anything below the threshold of change above) but to get into the “productive zone” (the orange highlighted area in the middle). Hopefully, my Monday emails get you to think about these things (or at least keep them on your radar). Here’s a short summary of a recent experiment we tried with the current Leadership Reno County Class.
In their book, The Practice of Adaptive Leadership, Heifetz, Grashow and Linsky suggest that one of the reasons we don’t break into the productive zone by lingering in work avoidance is that we often don’t “speak the unspeakable”, giving language to the more provocative interpretations that are going through our minds. On any issue, there are 2 conversations happening: the conversation you or someone else is saying publicly and the conversation inside your head related to the public conversation. Usually, only a small portion of the “in my head” conversation emerges in the public convo. And, what emerges is “polite banter” which we call “Kansas Nice.”
So, think about a time when the head and mouth didn’t line up. What could have been voiced? What progress might the group achieved as you voiced your “in the head” conversation? It’s not so much about others hearing you roar as much as helping the group or organization make progress on what you care about. Today, then, think about how the head conversation needs to inform the public conversation and see if it doesn’t help you break out of work avoidance and engage the productive zone more effectively.