When Good Intentions Go to Waste

IMG_5661There’s an unopened container of mango salsa in our refrigerator.

It’s been in there for a while. It must have gone bad by now.

I imagine it seemed like a good idea in the store, that nicely packaged yellow and orange salsa quietly promising to complement some grilled salmon or brighten up a plain old cheese quesadilla. But I don’t know because I didn’t buy it. And I wouldn’t buy it, because it’s not what I want.

I prefer a traditional red salsa. Even a pico de gallo will do in a pinch. But at least twice these past couple of weeks I went to have chips and salsa only to find that the mango was the only option. What harm in trying it, I reasoned? At least you’ve got something…why not find out?

But, no. My salsa sensibilities remain unenlightened. And so it sits.

This happens with corporate training efforts and in coaching sometimes, too. That may seem like a bizarre jump to make but that little container of salsa reminds me that over-zealous organizations do this all the time. With good intentions the investment is made, and as enamored as the decision-maker might be about “this new approach” it remains unappreciated and unused unless others are brought to a place of joint commitment about its value and its promise.

Employees are engaged when they have the resources, communication and support to do the jobs they were hired to do. They disengage when any of that essential stuff gets interrupted because a well-intentioned person decides to “mix things up.”

If you really want to help them, find out what they want and need and then do the most obvious thing imaginable: get it for them.


DAVID BERRY is the author of “A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change” and the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world.

 

What You Already Know

My coaching clients, regularly and repeatedly, react with the same kind of understated agreement when I share the feedback I have gathered from their peers and colleagues.

What they learn is no surprise. They are, in fact, underwhelmed by the process because it confirms what they already know.

The privilege of my work is to provide them that information in a way they haven’t heard it and within a process that allows us to take action on the feedback.

What do you already know? Who will help you do something about it?


DAVID BERRY is the author of “A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change” and the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world.

 

The Divided Brain

I am currently reading the book upon which this brief talk (one in the great “RSA Animate” series) is based. It is called “The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World” (by Iain McGilchrist) and it is utterly fascinating. It is a stretch read to be sure – for me at least – and yet it is utterly readable, completely compelling and, I believe, essential.

It is essential for anyone who wants to escape the pervasiveness of pop-culture neuroscience and educate themselves at a deeper level about the radical realities – and implications – of how our brains really work.  It is essential, too, for those of us whose work it is – through coaching, consulting, teaching – to help others solve problems, small or large in scope.

I first got interested in the “right brain movement” (if it can be called that) when I read Dan Pink’s “A Whole New Mind,” a terrific book in its own right, providing a very solid baseline of understanding and proving highly practical in its application. If you haven’t read anything else on the subject you might consider starting there. Or, you can check out this pdf about “The Master and His Emissary” which is a dialogue with the author and also includes critiques by others invited to read and comment on his work.

I hope you find this work as enthralling and useful as I have. The implications are massive.