Category Archives: Life!

Sowing the seed of a solution

Sow the seed of an idea to your staff
Humans are funny creatures. You can present a person with all sorts of perfectly logical, suitable solutions to their problems but you can’t guarantee that they will buy into any of them.

Maybe they don’t understand the solution, maybe they don’t like the changes that you suggest or maybe it’s just that it’s your idea not theirs. But whatever the cause the cliche “you can take a horse to water, but not make it drink” is very true.

I have come across this problem more often in a work setting (although it definitely comes up a lot with children, or my children at least). I guess part of the resistance is due to lack of understanding, part a simple resistance to change and part vanity (the “its not my idea” part).

You can’t usually force people to take your advice, so how can you get around these barriers?

It’s important always to focus on what’s right for the business or people concerned. That means leaving your EGO out of it!

My preferred tactic is to try to “sow a seed” of my idea:- introduce the idea, but then stand back and wait for the idea to grow in the other person.

The idea needs the right conditions to grow – more information about why the problem occurs, what the effect is, reasons why the solution you have proposed is right.

It also needs time to germinate…

But in the end the plan is to work with the other person to help them recognise the value of the solution, and feel that they have an equal part in coming up with it so that the problem is solved one way or another.

Note to my clients: This is not inspired by any client past or present, it’s a musing from helping someone else solve an issue with their colleagues!

Lean In: Lessons from Sheryl Sandberg

“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
Spencer Johnson, Who moved my cheese

I have just finished reading the book “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg.

I was curious when I started reading because really the only feedback I had heard about it was Sandberg was preaching that women need to try harder (“lean in”) which was easy for her to say with a huge salary and a nanny.

That wasn’t the message that I got from the book though.

I am definitely guilty of being over modest about my achievements and sometimes allowing self doubt to hold me back. Sandberg explores the reasons why women are more likely than men to act this way as well as looking at how even in the 21st Century attitudes can inhibit women from aspiring to senior business roles.

In the first chapter of the book Sandberg explores the quote above and it really resonated with me: being afraid could be something as simple as being too embarrassed to speak out in a meeting where everyone else is agreeing.

This year I have made a resolution to look out for times when being afraid stops me from doing something and then challenge myself to overcome the fear.