On a small stage in a tiny dark theater, a group of people came together to do improv. They showed up, they jumped in. Ready to play, to feel, to build something great. Something funny.
Each one had a unique presence and a calculated premise in their minds. They swam fast in their lanes and did what they knew best.
Yet something was missing. Nothing was coming together. Things felt off. So focused on what they could add, they missed the strengths of those around them. They took personalities personally, trying to protect their space to shine.
Stay in your own lane.
Did you hear what I said?
You’re ruining it.
When we get in our own heads, we lose our ability to connect with others. We can’t operate as a team, we can’t build something greater.
Not unless we stop.
As a qualitative researcher, I work to understand how people and customers and teams think. I’ve seen inside IT companies and plumbing companies and strategy teams in the NBA. Everywhere, there are small disconnects. People working in silos, so focused on solving the problem in front of them, that they forget to look around. To harness the strengths of the humans right next to them. The ones on their team.
I kick myself, because I’m guilty of this too. I think it’s part of human nature to live in your own world. But there is hope, you guys. I’ve seen it firsthand.
When you find yourself in a disconnect with those around you, stop what you are doing. Pause. Do nothing but listen. Watch what happens.
Every human wants to be heard. It is only when we listen that we can truly connect. In improv, it only takes one scene of letting go and listening to feel the magic. And you know what? I’m finding the same thing in companies. I’m realizing to create change and synergy and meaning, it’s not that complicated.
I’m kicking myself, because the answer is simple.
When in doubt, listen.