Unleashing the full capacity of your people

Break Conversational Habits to Break Out of Ruts

Sand ruts makunin Pixabay

Start digging out of the softer ruts first, like cliche-driven conversations.

Ruts are endemic problems at work because they are comfortable and require less energy to work through. The mind can go on automatic and get some rest while still working. This gets established tasks done, but blunts creativity and new thinking. As a manager, you need to shake things up to re-engage minds and raise energy levels.

This goes for all forms of communication, even everyday conversations. We used “thirdly review” to describe a May update one-on-one because it broke the conversational paradigm. (One third of the year has gone by as of April 30.) This broke the listener’s thinking out of her comfortable quarterly or yearly patterns.

Fresh thinking requires you to break patterns, as we wrote about last month. (You can find the article reposted on LinkedIn.)

This works as effectively in a one-on-one conversation or in a brainstorming meeting. If people are only half-listening to you, presenting your theme in a new way will wake them up and refocus their attention.

“Wait, what did you just say?” is your desired result. You get to repeat your point while they are listening with both ears!

Here are a few examples:

Old: “This issue is not black and white. There are shades of gray between our two positions that make it more complex.”

New: “This issue is not blue and yellow. There are shades of green between our two positions that make it more complex.”

(Red/blue/purple and red/yellow/orange work just as well, of course.)

Old: “Listen, you can’t have your cake and eat it, too.”

New: “Listen, you can’t eat your cake and still have it.”

How may we help team CTAOld: “The devil is in the details.”

New: “Details are devilish things that demand attention, aren’t they?”

Shake-ups, resets and kickstarts are our specialties. If your team needs jolting out of its rut, we can help you get that done.

And in 90 days you will be shocked at what a re-energized team can get done!


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