Your thought to ponder for today: a slow read through THE SEER. Day 21. [all material from the book appears in italics]:
When I first contacted Virgil he wrote:
Virgil: You don’t know what you don’t know.
He’s trying to help me see what is right in front of me but I do not see.
This morning I made a list of all the things I did right in my business. I remembered a meeting I had several months ago with a potential client. I realized there was an important flip side to Virgil’s statement: you don’t know what you don’t know. The flip side is this: you don’t know what you DO know. Some things are so natural to me. I see things and assume that everyone can see it, too. They don’t. I am constantly surprised when something so clear to me is invisible to someone else.
The client came to me because she was certain that her situation was impossible. She’d just been appointed as the director of a student services center at a university. The previous director was a bully and the culture of the center was toxic. My client wanted to change the culture of the center. She hired consultants who brought her models for building better teams; she held weekly meetings to give her staff the opportunity to share their thoughts; she had an open door policy so her staff would know that she was accessible. But, in her words, “Nothing seems to work.”
It seemed so obvious to me.
“How long have you been the director?” I asked.
“Three months already!” she replied.
“How long was the previous director at the center?”
“Six years. He was awful. He was terribly abusive,” she said.
“Are your staff members machines or humans?” I asked and she wrinkled her brow. I added, “I’m not being flip. I’m asking you a serious question.”
She sat for a moment before responding. “You mean this is going to take time.”
“Have you ever been hurt in a relationship?”
“Of course.” She was wary of this line of questioning.
“How long did it take before you trusted the next person that came into your life?” I asked and she began to laugh.
“You mean they’ve been burned and I’m the new girlfriend,” she smiled.
“Yes. Imagine for a moment that you are the new girlfriend and you’re dealing with someone who’s been burned badly; what would you do?”
“It’s going to take time, isn’t it?” She closed her eyes and nodded her head, continuing, “And I need to help them learn that I am safe. They need to take little steps for a while. They need to trust that I’m not anything like the former director. A little wooing is in order. A little kindness would help. This is not a problem to fix, it’s a new relationship to develop.”
“Exactly.” I smiled.
She stood, shook my hand and said, “It’s so simple when I look at it like that.”
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