Accept Responsibility in Every Conversation - or Be a Victim
Our choice in every conversation, every day is to accept Responsibility for the result or be a Victim.
It is understandable why so often we choose to be a victim.
Communication research gives us three reasons to be a victim:
1) By the time we are 18, we have heard "No" 180,000 times and "Yes" 60, 000
So we start our business career expecting "No".
2) In 80% of conversations, people mentally and verbally judge our character or motivations-"That was a stupid idea." Can't you get anything done on time?"
We spend most of our time mentally and verbally defending/justifying our behaviors.
3) We have 60,000 thoughts in a 24-hour day. Most of them are fantasies
dealing with our past conversations. We have few, new, original thoughts each day.
Accepting Responsibility in Every Conversation Requires Three Skills:
1) Plan Every Conversation. We need to immediately institute a plan as each conversation starts. The plan includes: confirming our objective, negotiating the length of time, expecting disagreements, and anticipating a need to exit if the conversation becomes unproductive. At the end of each conversation, we ask ourselves these questions:
- How did or didn't I reach my objective?
- How can I be responsible, in the next conversation?
2) Speak the Other Person's Language. We need to respect our differences. For example, what if my superior is a result-driven executive who makes quick decisions, with little information, in a short conversation and willingly takes risk WHILE I am thoughtful, creative and only make decisions after gathering all information needed, which takes time and reduces risk. To be responsible, not a victim, I need to speak his language, not mine. I must speak short, provide 1 or 2 important bits of information and do it quickly. Speaking the other person's language to accomplish our objective is the responsible thing to do.
3) Use Responsible Listening To Control the Conversation. When my results-driven executive says, "I don't want any more information, let's decide now," I prove I heard what she said by saying, "I won't give you more information (Listening), just one additional fact. Fact is we'll lose a million dollars if we do this now without research (Speaking)." Listening is acknowledging what the other person said before we speak. Listening requires we earn the right to speak by proving we heard what they said.
Accepting responsibility doesn't mean I win. It means I:
1) Plan Every Conversation
2) Speak The Other Person's Language
3) Control The Conversation - By Listening
Accepting Responsibility for the result of each conversation requires courage and discipline. AND it sure beats being a victim.