Mining for Gold

Mining for Gold

A common scenario – we are having a discussion with another – be it stakeholders, staff, clients, significant other or even children. Throughout the conversation, we are listening and often nodding believing we understand their meaning.

Neuroscience has shown that we have 86 billion neurons in each of our head brains. And no two brains are alike. Our map of the world if influenced by many things including our experiences, values, education, beliefs, emotions, motivations, to name a few.

So given this, how is it that we often assume what something means when spoken by another. Or likewise, do we assume that others know what we mean when we speak.

Words can mean different worlds in the brains of different people. And breakdowns in communication are often a mismatch between worlds.

So what can we do to address this?

Think about an explorer who is looking for gold. Often what is undertaken is the drilling of core samples which provide a better idea of what is below the surface. Assuming that gold or minerals just exist without sampling could be financially disastrous.

So when it comes to conversations, how about drilling down for deeper meaning. By drilling down we explore the unique connections at the heart of the matter.

As we drill down on ideas with others, we are unfolding their unique mindscapes and view of the world. Inside any drill down is a unique combination of links and associations that make up each person’s singular view of the world.

Let’s run through an example: Your staff member comes to see you saying that he is not happy with the type of work being undertaken and would prefer tasks with a greater level of autonomy.

Now we can assume what they mean by autonomy or we can drill down by asking – what does autonomy look like to you?

Drilling down applies at an individual, team as well as organisational level. Drilling down is a powerful tool for looking inside the core concepts that hold a relationship, team, and organisation together.

Further more, our relationships, others motivations and output can be improved by simply showing an interest in the other person.

We all hold different views of reality, and when we look inside to see the meanings we make of core concepts, we discover associations we didn’t know we had. When I use drill down as part of my client projects, it brings to light areas where people are aligned and areas where they are not, knowledge that is the first step in synergy and creating organisational change.