We’re back with some more Stephen Covey! I’ve been off for a couple of weeks because of the crazy schedule, but I’m back and on fire as always. In today’s blog and podcast episode, it’s time to talk about being open.
You’ve probably been around people you consider close-minded or arrogant – people who don’t really listen to you because they think there’s nothing you could say they don’t already know; people who refuse to consider new ways of looking at things because they are convinced that theirs is the only accurate way of thinking; people who will star truth in the face and reject it because they’re not willing to accept the possibility that there is some reality, some principle out there, they weren’t even aware of. How does that ego-invested attitude affect your ability to relate to these people? How does it affect your perception of their credibility? How does it affect your willingness to extend trust?
Stephen Covey’s Speed of Trust book
By me typing that and speaking it in my podcast, what came to mind? Just write down a list of names that popped up in your mind. The shaking of your head while saying “tsk! That’s him/her!”
As a 26-year-old, I sat in a room with one of the heads of the company called New Education World, my previous employer. The lady, who has once said racist remarks in regards to a colleague of mine, was accompanied by four other women who were apparent “department managers.”
As I explained my new course, which was due to make a debut at this particular branch, she sat there, closed and uninterested.
However, towards the end, she asked some very good questions and then asked me, “where do we get the teachers to teach that?”
“Ummm, if teachers can’t teach conversation, they’re not teachers,” I replied.
She was convinced that it was impossible to teach conversation. The marketing executive, who once said to me, “to be honest, it’s hard to market a black guy to these companies,” laughed in my bosses face saying, “this is an academic language institute. Creating a conversation course is ridiculous.”
In the following year, the conversation course was number one for total revenue — all created by me.
He wasn’t willing to accept the possibility that it was REAL.
Others would be diametrically opposed to it.
A new coordinator came in around April of 2017, and his goal was to reduce the amount of courses and classes — all while making the sizes of the class bigger.
This was completely illogical because if you reduce th enumber of classes, you reduce the amount of work for teachers.
His #1 goal was to get rid of my conversation course, the course that was the number 1 marketing tool for 18 months because he was romanticizing with the past thought of the school “being academic.”
How does that ego-invested attitude affect your ability on how to relate to these people?
I stopped talking to everyone. I stopped talking to him, most notably, because he was a “stats” man that was completely blinded by the real reality. I felt there there was nothing else left for me there, so I decided to bite the bullet and leap into the unknown. The trust was so….odd. At times I would think this particular individual was wonderful, but other times I felt like he had an insidiously hidden agenda. Sometimes it felt like he was supportive, but then he would say things that were completely out-of-line, even for a 70-year-old wife tourist.
Openness is vital to integrity. It takes both humility and courage — humility to acknowledge that there are principles out there you may not currently be aware of, and courage to follow them once you discover them. Throughout history, most paradigm shifts in science have been shifts from traditional thinking — shifts that took this kind of humility and courage.
- Do I believe that the way I see the world is totally accurate and complete — or am I honestly willing to listen to and consider new viewpoints and ideas?
- Do I seriously consider different points of view (from a boss, direct report, team member, spouse, brother/sister, child), and am I willing to be influenced by them?
- Do I believe there may be principles that I have not yet discovered? Am I determined to live in harmony with them, even if it means developing new thinking patterns and habits?
- Do I value — and am I involved in — continual learning?