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Fierce Conversation- Exploring Reality


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Abuja

Image: Fierce Conversation

 

 January-16-2012

 

A few days ago my husband and I were at a birthday party, I was trying to discreetly point out to him someone I wanted to tell him something about. I kept saying “Can you see that woman behind so-so-and-so” and he kept saying there was no one behind so-so-and-so.

This was so annoying because the gist was losing its ‘hotness’. He finally gave up and said “Is that not the MR So-so-and-so?   I, already irritated, snapped back that I was talking about MRS So-so-and-so not MR!

The problem was that we were speaking Yoruba, and Yoruba does not have pronouns to differentiate between genders like Hausa, English and many other languages do. Both of us were actually right, the only thing was that we were looking at different realities.

Isn’t this exactly what causes friction and disharmony in our relationships- Whether personal or corporate? What each of us believes to be true reflects our perspective of an issue at a particular time, and that is what is referred to as our reality or truth.

 

Organisations and all personal relationships will continually struggle to have a smooth sail except the different realities are thoroughly explored regularly.

As I said in my last article, fierce does not necessarily mean cruel or barbaric. Its synonyms also include powerful, strong, unrestrained, and robust.  It means being real in our conversations. Realities differ; sometimes compete and funnily do change.  Let us use the beach ball to further explain the need to examine different realities.

 

Think of your organisation as a beach ball and picture it as having a red stripe, a green stripe, a yellow stripe and a blue stripe. You are the marketing manager and you stand on the blue stripe and so all you see about the company is blue.

You are at your company’s monthly leadership meeting and you excitedly lay out a proposal for a blue marketing campaign. To you this is a brilliant idea because it reflects the blueness of the company.

 

The company financial adviser is shaking his head at his corner obviously in disagreement. He lives on the red stripe and all he sees around him is red, including a red balance sheet. He interjects your enthusiastic speech by drawing your attention to the redness of the company

The CEO lives on the yellow stripe. He has just come back from a CEOs think- tank he belongs to where they had discussed a new opportunity in the market; he is so optimistic that the company is yellow -as bright as the mid afternoon sun reflecting his excellent idea.

 

He commends your idea but believes it’s not for now. Instead he puts his idea on the table forcefully, explaining to all why it was the right way to go -Everyone knows once he’s spoken, no one argues, so everyone grunts in submission or what Susan Scott refers to as ‘the corporate nod’
The HR manager who lives on the green stripe looks on with disbelief. She has just carried out a performance audit of the employees and knows that there are great gaps between the skills available in house and that needed to achieve the CEO’s plan.

However, she doesn’t say a word because emotions were already high and she was not going to risk having her head bitten off. So this key executive with her vital information sinks into her seat just waiting for the meeting to end.

 

“The question is who owns the truth about what colour the company is?” The answer is that every single person in the company owns a piece of the truth about the colour of the company. The key word is ‘piece’ because no one not even the CEO- the visionary, owns the complete truth.

The totality of the pieces is the truth. The goal of every stakeholder in a relationship is to ‘make the best possible position and not to be right about individual point of view.’

 

The moral of this analogy is that everyone’s perspective must be considered (interrogated, explored) for us to discover the whole truth. This applies all our relationships- It means all opinions (realities) must be explored. When we explore realities, learning is provoked, tough challenges sorted and relationships enriched.

Let me end with this quote from Susan Scott’s book:
“To the degree that you resist or disallow the exploration of differing realities in your workplace or home, you will spend time, energy, money and emotions cleaning up the after math of plans quickly but effectively torpedoed by individuals who resent the fact that their experiences, opinions, and strongly held beliefs are apparently of little interest to the organisation.”

 

Gbonju is a UK based certified professional Personal/Small Business Performance Coach, trainer and International Speaker.  She qualifies through the Chartered Institute for Personnel Development (CIPD) and the Coaching Academy. For more information on how you or your organisation can benefit from her services, visit www.peakpeopledevelopers.com or email gbonju@peakpeopledevelopers.com

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Updated 7 Years ago
 

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