What You Do is Not as Important as What They Experience

Many leaders do it. Because it’s so easy to do. They only see things through their own eyes.
And why not? You know what your organization needs to accomplish. You’ve thought about it and you’ve analyzed it. You’ve considered the pros and cons of other options. And now you’re clear.
This is where the problem begins. You assume that because it makes perfect sense to you, it will make perfect sense to your people. It won’t. Unless you approach things from their perspective you’re not likely to get their hearts, minds and actions aligned with what you want to achieve.
It doesn’t matter that you’ve communicated the purpose and goals unless they understand and buy-in to them. It doesn’t matter that you’ve provided training unless they believe they have the skills and are confident in applying those skills. It doesn’t matter that you’ve empowered people unless they believe they have the authority … and feel safe in using that authority.
What you do is not as important as what they experience. See things through their eyes.
How do you do that? Engage them. Get their reactions, get their input. For example, let’s say you want to communicate a new change initiative that affects everyone. Don’t do it by communicating to the team and then asking, “Any questions, any comments?” Because you won’t get any. And you’ll conclude – wrongly – that everything makes sense to them.
Better to communicate to the team and then ask people to pair up and take a couple of minutes to talk about one or two things. Such as: what they liked about what you said, what concerns they have, what’s not clear, or what they need to make it work. Then randomly ask individuals to report back a highlight from their conversation. Create a safe environment so they’ll give you candid feedback. Reinforce those who go out on a limb and tell you their truth, a truth you may not want to hear. Thank them for their courage and their comments.
To see things from their perspective you have to communicate with people, not at people.
To accomplish what you need to accomplish, you have to align the hearts, minds and actions of your people. See things through their eyes. Approach things from their perspective. Because what you do is not as important as what they experience.
Make it happen.
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