Things can get a lot more complicated (Part 2)

(standing on my head and looking at Part 1)

Another view, from the brilliant Seth Godin:

“Sometimes, we’re so eager to have an opinion that we skip the step of working to understand. Why is it the way it is? Why do they believe what they believe?

We skip reading the whole thing, because it’s easier to jump to what we assume the writer meant.

We skip engaging with customers . . . because it’s quicker to assert we know what they want.

We skip doing the math, examining the footnotes, recreating the experiment, because it might not turn out the way we need it to . . .”

—Seth Godin, The Hard Work of Understanding

In our work, I think working to BE SURE we understand Our People is the single most important activity we can make time for.

We all try to figure out why a product/service isn’t selling, why we can’t seem to reach the right people at the right time through marketing, why someone didn’t react positively to our carefully-shaped workshop or coaching. If we’re smart, we go to other people outside our well-worn sphere of influence and ask them for a second opinion. If we’re REALLY smart, we step into the fire and ask our ideal people themselves, even if it’s uncomfortable to do so.

In work, it’s a careful artform to ask people, “What were you thinking/feeling when you decided (not to sign up for this)?”  Or “What would’ve made that a better/more useful experience for you?”  Or exploring what they really want right now, running the risk that what they really want isn’t what you want to offer.

And in the rest of life, taking the time to be sure we understand—even if we don’t agree, or don’t respect what someone’s saying—is possibly one of the most useful skills to cultivate.

Seeking to understand isn’t tit-for-tat.
We can do it even if it seems no one around us is bothering.

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