What type of listening do you practice?

By: Cambodia4kids.org Beth Kanter

Yesterday, I mentioned the importance of asking the right questions, especially with regard to managing change and preparing for a commitment to change. Today, I want to talk about the other side of that equation: listening. Otto Scharmer, in Theory U, suggests four levels of questions that reveal your commitment to change. Scharmer describes the first level of listening as "downloading" (Scharmer, 2009, p.11). At this stage, the listener is only marginally listening. Instead of engaging with the speaker, the listener that is "downloading" only hears the things that reinforce their existing assumptions. Do you think the project will fail? Then you'll only hear the risks. Convinced that the change will be a huge success and everyone will accept the process? You'll only hear the benefits and ignore the risks. If you find yourself in a conversation and you only hear things that confirm or reinforce your existing feelings, then you're just downloading. If you can move past … [Continue reading...]

Are you asking the right questions to lead change?

The Answer to How is Yes-Peter Block

During my three year journey at Gonzaga, one of the enduring lessons I learned was that no organization is exactly where it wants to be; that is, every organization should be thinking about, planning, or currently engaged in transforming itself into the organization it needs to be. Organizations, however, are much more static and immobile than we hope. They are slow to receive feedback and even slower to integrate that learning into their processes and structures. Most organizations view change as a thing we do, something that requires a committee, or even worse, a task force, to initiate. Change comes in the form of a report, neatly bound and breathlessly delivered. If you've been in the corporate or nonprofit world for long, you already know where these reports end up: neatly lining a shelf, collecting dust, while the organization continues on its original course. We live in a chaotic world, one that requires organizations to be nimble and ready to respond to ever-changing … [Continue reading...]