…But if you listen, you may learn something new.” – J. P. McEvoy
1. On a few occasions this quote has been attributed to the incumbent Dalai Lama. If it really did originate with him (or another individual) someone please correct me in the comments section below.As far as I can tell 1, for this quote we can thank American writer J. P. McEvoy.
This quote is powerful to me because it embodies a delightful phenomena that I’ve had the privilege of experiencing on a (now untold) number of occasions throughout my life and career: In countless personal and professional contexts, just when I’m convinced of my mastery/understanding of a given concept or situation, someone says something that exposes me to a new way of thinking about whatever is before me.
…To this point, I’m beginning to grow comfortable with the fact that every problem has a series of wrinkles; sometimes those wrinkles are deep, and we don’t immediately notice their full dimensions. But as we open our eyes and our ears then we become exposed to steadily increasing layers of understanding, and that understanding helps us to generate innovative solutions to challenges that may have historically been addressed in sub-optimal ways.
As HR leaders, our managers come to us with a large number of people and process challenges. When attempting to solve these issues it is tempting to lean heavily on our experience in order to generate solutions. This is in many ways a very good idea – our experience is why we’re relied on for advice.
With that said, as I talked about last week it is dangerous to apply heuristics to problems in an overly broad way. Instead, seek to listen and understand the point of view of all stakeholders involved so that you might find the best possible answer.
Getting started this week, remember that every challenge is unique in its own right. As such, before seeking to give counsel on an issue take care to listen to all parties involved and understand the facts as best you can.
As always, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.