Meet Jo Ann
Some years ago my husband and I were having an argument. We had opposite views and seemed to be going round in circles. I couldn’t understand why. Then the penny dropped.
It was all about perspective. He sees things in black and white; I see in shades of grey. Once he realised I understood his point of view he expected me to agree with him. For him my understanding equalled agreement.
Since then I’ve come to realise this same clash of perspectives happens in organisations all the time. Leaders and employees have very different outlooks that can undermine what they are trying to achieve.
Either they trust each other’s perspectives and are willing to collaborate. Or they use up huge amounts of energy trying to coerce each other – creating frustration, resistance, delays and escalating costs.
In my 25+ years with multinationals, SMEs, government departments and charities I’ve come to realise this is all about relationships of trust. About people listening to and understanding each other; being willing to put themselves in other people’s shoes.
Today I lead Sweeney Communications, a consultancy dedicated to helping communicators and project professionals deliver communication activities that build trust and rapport with their audiences both internally and externally.
My role invariably is as a catalyst, asking the questions that help them understand what their leaders expect. Then standing beside them while they win the buy-in of key people – executives, team members, government, customers.
Much of what I’m learning I share through the CommsAbilities blog and ezine; and the annual virtual Worth Working Summit