On my morning run today, one of my favorite artists, Martin Sexton, was singing to me through my headphones: “Diggin’ me diggin’ you”. His catchy tune added a little pep to my step. And, it got me thinking about how good it feels when I focus my energy on others. Directing my attention toward someone else and fully appreciating them gives me a feeling of connectedness that reminds me I’m alive.
If others feel like I do when someone gives me their full attention, then diggin’ someone else is a delicious win-win. When someone pays full attention to what I am saying, tuning into what I am feeling, I sense that they care about me as a person. It feels like they “see” me and appreciate who I am, not just what I can do.
“Leaders who succeed are those who are humble enough to be able to see beyond themselves and perceive the true capacities and capabilities of their people.”
I recently read a book recommended by an awesome colleague called The Outward Mindset – Seeing Beyond Ourselves: How to Change Lives and Transform Organizations by The Arbinger Institute. It’s an invitation to enhance our connectedness and be more inclusive, not just because it feels good, but because it unlocks collaboration, innovation and responsiveness that leads to enhanced performance. The book explores how our assumptions about the way the world works impacts our daily actions.
“Mindset drives and shapes all that we do – how we engage with others and how we behave in every moment and situation.”
–The Outward Mindset
The ‘diggin’ me’ part might suggest an element of an inward focus. What’s important is that the diggin’ me is about my focus on you. The essence is introspective and self-observation, rather than what The Arbinger Institute calls an inward mindset, where we are primarily concerned with others’ impact on us rather than our impact on them.
The awesome colleague who shared the book with me is Jennifer Paylor. She is one of those people who gives herself to you. She truly listens to you, she completely connects with what you are saying, she ‘sees’ you. And her outward mindset enables her to see possibilities that others don’t.
Influenced by The Arbinger Institute’s first book, Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box, together we created an simple engagement approach we call “PALs” that is used in parts of our delivery and services organization. The foundational principle is “seeing people as people” starting from an outward mindset, consciously placing attention on the person you are interacting with. Two supporting components include awareness (not just of the other person but also what’s going on with you and in your surroundings) and listening (which inevitably leads to powerful questions). Just the simplest of small steps focused outwardly has incredible transformational power. When someone has become a PAL, not only colleagues but also clients notice. We’ve seen the PALs approach shift relationships from transactional to co-creative, strengthen how teams engage, and enhance performance and results.
Today’s workplace hinges more than ever on our relationships. Not only how we interact in more fluid and agile ways within and across our teams, but also how we engage with our clients and partners to make what seemed impossible possible. Now might be just the right time to open to the feel-good possibilities of diggin’ ourselves diggin’ those around us. What do you think?
Another great read from The Arbinger Institute: The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict
Check out Martin:
I’m also blogging over at the IBM Jobs recruitment blog:
And I’ve started a new blog featuring weekly quotes: