Home

Services

About Us

Podcasts

Blog

Contact


November

2011

 
Transparency in Communication
                 More is More

Conscious Communication: bringing communication up from "auto-pilot" and reactive, to thoughtful, responsive, and above all, intentional.

Feature Article 

  No time? Listen to the  podcast (9:33 min.) in the background while you file, exercise, ride to work, etc.

 

Quick Communication Tip

Resource Links

 

****************

 

Transparency in Communication - More is More
(click for podcast)

 

You’ve heard that nature abhors a vacuum. Things rush in to fill them. This can have a harmful effect when it comes to communication. We tend to fill in the blanks when we perceive missing information. Unfortunately, we don’t fill in the blanks with happy puppies and butterflies.

In our desire to protect ourselves, we construct negative or worst-case scenarios to fill in the voids. If we don’t get invited to a party, we’re more likely to assume we were purposefully excluded than it being an accidental oversight. This is a pretty interesting phenomenon when you think about it. Without any information at all, we invent it out of thin air. Because of this habit we have with gaps in information, over-communicating has to be superior to under-communicating. If we don’t leave gaps, people don’t fill them with negative assumptions.

I’ve addressed aspects of this phenomenon before both in “Kind Ambition,” and in previous episodes of Conscious Communication.  We know that assumptions are almost always wrong, and yet reach for them as compulsively and unconsciously as the next potato chip.

Our discomfort with gaps in information drives us to fill those gaps as soon as possible, and it’s this immediacy that gets us in trouble. With consciousness and patience, we can pursue the missing information, rather than simply filling in the blanks with assumptions.


Three Strikes of Communication (revisited)
I’ve talked about the “Three Strikes of Communication” for years, and as a quick reminder, they are Assumptions, Projections, and Avoidance. Rather than re-stating their downsides here, let’s address one specifically that has a vast impact on relationships, interactions, and entire company cultures. That’s this habit of ours to assume, fill in the blanks with worst-case scenarios, and create distrust.

Any annoyance arising from over-communicating is greatly overshadowed by its benefits. What we’re really talking about is “transparency.” There’s very little that has as much positive impact on trust as transparency. We’ve seen this time and again at every level, from interpersonal relationships to our elected officials.

The more that’s left out, the more we think is hidden, and the more we suspect foul play. Understanding that this negative scenario building is our default position is what makes transparency so important. The only remedy is putting all our cards on the table.


Counterfeit Power (revisited)
One motivation for holding back information is a whole other area of dysfunction around misperceptions of “power.” Again, as I’ve already discussed Real Power vs. Counterfeit Power in chapter 10 of “Kind Ambition,” let’s stick directly with how it relates here. Lack of transparency creates distrust, thus a lack of power. When we follow the chain of events, we see that withholding information in pursuit of power works in reverse. We don’t create power, we create distrust, which undermines our power.

This single concept is both pervasive and lethal to organizations and relationships. It’s very difficult to justify a lack of transparency, as we’re basically justifying secrecy. It may not be about secrecy at all, but when there’s a lack of transparency, our nature is to jump to that conclusion. Even when the lack of information results from trying to “save time,” the people who are excluded will come up with malevolent motivations.

Ironically, the most prevalent reason for a lack of transparency (especially in organizations) is in fact about time, not secrecy. Unfortunately, this perception of saving time by not being transparent is very inaccurate. It may save time for one person in the short term to have their orders blindly followed, but that savings breaks down quickly. The old, blind obedience model doesn’t work long term, and most businesses who’ve adopted it have discovered this.

The dynamic boils down to the difference between centralization and intelligent “nodes.” Today’s environment requires thinking and problem-solving on all levels. The disempowering centralization model cuts this off at the knees. “Don’t think – just do what I say” will get just as much obedience to the “don’t think” as to the “just do it” part. Telling people not to think usually ends badly.

Once again, our suspicions are immediately triggered, and questions arise. Why don’t they want me to think? Why do they want me to do this without knowing why? What are they hiding? This is such a waste of time and energy in itself, any time “saved” is quickly lost. From a Big Picture, people feeling that they aren’t appreciated or listened to starts a disintegration of morale that hurts the organization or relationship still further. Once again, a little time spent in the beginning, establishing transparency always pays off in the long run.

Additionally, not taking advantage of people’s thinking and problem-solving skills wastes those resources while putting the entire burden on that centralized “order-giver.” Lose, lose, lose, proposition.


Taking the Next Step
When there’s nothing to hide, people relax. When they can relax about their personal safety and security, they can focus on other things, like their jobs or their partners. The equation is really simple. Transparency engenders Trust. Trust enables us to focus on other things. In a relationship, that opens up time and space to focus on each other. In an organization, it enables us to focus on our work, rather than splitting our attention.

To re-state the premise, because we fill in gaps with negative scenarios, over-communicating is usually superior to under-communicating as a rule. The caveat here is that there really is something to communicate. Merely filling silence with talking is a mirage of the real thing. That creates the “Boy Who Cried Wolf” backlash, where people stop listening. In fact some people talk incessantly to obfuscate, rather than clarify. Communicating is the conveyance of information, where talking is just one of the many ways to do that. We need to keep our focus on the vanishing point. When the desired outcome is an environment of Trust, the path requires Transparency.


****************

Quick Communication Tip

Talk to Me

How many times have you felt as if you were expected to read someone’s mind? Rather than trying harder, we usually balk and resist the prospect, and often get angry about being put in that position. How many times have you been told to “just do it” without engaging your enrollment or your understanding? Rather than enthusiasm, we feel resentment, resistance, and sometimes depression. These are examples of a lack of communication backfiring.

When you’re asked, rather than told to do something, you’re more interested in doing it. When you know why, your energy isn’t dissipated into trying to figure that out. When you have all the pieces, you don’t waste time trying to understand what’s missing, why it’s missing, and how this might impact you adversely. All of these point to the simple conclusion that transparency and open communication simplifies interaction, keeps us engaged, and keeps us on track.


Want to learn more about how your communication can hold you back or catapult you forward?  Come visit the web site, or better yet, contact me and see how we can design a program to fit your needs and desired outcomes.


****************


Resource Links:


Conscious Communication - the podcast series

KG Stiles: "Conversations that Enlighten and Heal"
Ian Blei on Kind Ambition and the
Integram (TM)

Personal Life Media - "Coaching the Life Coach:"
Communication Excellence (Podcast Snippets)
Communication Excellence (full interview)


Interview Podcast for Evolutionary Radio w/ J. McClain

Kind Ambition -
2nd Edition now available

Got Blog? c
ome visit the Blog.

Character Driven - Ever want to create characters that were so believable, that people forgot they were characters?

****************

 

Subscribe to the Conscious Communication Chronicle

Email:

 

 

Welcome to the Conscious Communication Chronicle, sharing how Conscious Communication results in success, and how you can achieve yours.   Enjoy!

 

 



The Optimizer
Ian Blei,
Director of the
Institute for Integral Enneagram Studies and
President of
Optimized Results
415.826.0478

 

 

Kind Ambition

Click HERE

 

 

 

 


Kind Ambition:
Practical Steps
to Achieve Success
 Without Losing Your Soul
 

 

 

Kind Ambition
Fan Page
now on
 FACEBOOK

 

 

Kind Ambition is about you having the tools to slide over to the driver’s seat of your own life.  Circumstances will always be changing, seemingly thwarting our plans, but we don’t have to be  thrown around by them. You can be in charge of your choices and actions more than you might imagine - yet.

 

Kind Ambition is written for you, as a practical guide you can use right now.  It is a collection of  insights and actions designed to help you move forward and get more out of your life at home and at work.  The chapters hold to a formula of first giving you a new way to look at things, then offering you tangible Action Steps to try them out, and finally some things to notice when you do.

 

 

 

 

Kind words for “Kind Ambition”

 

"If you are interested in success, whether it is in running a large organization, a small business, or leading a satisfying life, you will find a right blend of rules, wisdom and wit in a digestible fashion that will serve to accomplish your objectives. The notion that kindness can be blended with ambition and made to work and serve the "bottom line" is enlightening, uplifting and satisfying."

-Steven Kiefel – CEO, Red Pill Media

 

 

 

“An easy to use guide for anyone who wants to achieve real  growth and success. His sensible and practical tactics solve age-old challenges with real, how-to solutions. Best of all, Ian lives his work!”

-Romanus Wolter - Author: Kick Start Your Dream Business
Success Coach Columnist: Entrepreneur Magazine
Radio Host: Syndicated Kick Start Guy Segment

 

 

 

" We all face obstacles in our lives and careers. Some of these come from within, subverting our conscious intentions. The  good news is: they can be overcome.  The techniques and processes found in this book will help you on your way."

-Margaret Heffernan – Author: The Naked Truth: A Working Woman's

 Manifesto on Business and What Really Matters

Syndicated Columnist: Fast Company Magazine

 

 

 

“A scientifically-based, spiritually-awake, (and smart and funny) guide to making the most of your life.  Ian Blei provides the know-how, the inspiration, the structure and all the tools you need in  this straightforward and inspirational book.”

     -Lisa Betts-LaCroix, Past President of SF Coaches
Star of Unapix film, “Dance Me Outside”

 

 

 

" Ian Blei shares his deep insights in simple and straightforward ways.  His work continues to inspire me whenever I feel I'm getting stuck in some area of my life."

-Roy King, III , Director Pacific Development Partners

 

 

 

   

© 2001- 2011 Optimized Results. All Rights Reserved     205 Chattanooga St.   San Francisco, CA 94114     415.826.0478