Engaging (and the truth about hugs)

I’ve learned from my daughter that real engagement often happens at that moment when we want to disengage. 

This is that moment in a meeting when we stop listening and start thinking about what we want to say.

Sitting face to face with a customer who is telling us a story, we prepare our response before listening to the end. 

At the end of an engagement with a colleague we stand up and start moving away when there is a silence. It appears to be the end of the encounter, but is it?

What I learned from my daughter is that hanging on for another 30 seconds makes all the difference.

With her it is the end of a hug. I’ve learned not to be the first to pull away. It makes all the difference. Stay another few seconds. Be prepared to stay forever if need be.

That seldom happens but mostly some magic happens, if I just wait a little longer. 

Back in business, that thing your employee wanted to really say pops out if given the chance.

My colleague gives me the real feedback beyond the ‘nice’ safe comment they felt comfortable to say.

Our customer tells us what she really wants us to know.

Without giving it a little more time, real engagement is elusive. 

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Doubting our plans

Most things written by academics about strategy fall into the two broad categories of strategic planning and strategic execution.

It seems that the academics have not been speaking to people outside their institutions enough. 

John Lennon probably had a clearer view of how things really work when he sang, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

Nobody sees the future like they believe they do. Ask Nassim Nicholas Taleb or Daniel Kahneman.

All we can do is hypothesise and test those hypotheses as Jim Clarke describes in his work on Business Plan You.

Doubting that our plan will work is the first step towards thinking about the future as it is likely to play out. 

Beyond planning and executing to testing hypothesise

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