EP 18: Context in Chaos
Play • 12 min

We discuss the importance of listening for the other side of a conversation, argument or agreement. Context is king,

Episode18 Context in Chaos

[00:00:00] When the COVID story is finally written, it's then, and only then that we'll understand whether we're currently at chapter two or chapter 10, or indeed how many chapters there out of this whole story?  

[00:00:13]The one thing I think most   people will agree is that it feels like the end of the beginning, where we've emerged from lockdown and with the handbrake released we're coming into the next stage or the next evolution of this whole chaos that's was thrust upon us. In emerging, we are very clear that there are some difficult discussions and conversations that need to happen. And from the last two episodes, which were around conversations in chaos and the response to them, we realized that there's a real appetite out there to understand how better to deal and have better conversations. 

[00:00:53] To that end, we're going to spend this episode talking about the importance of context. 

[00:00:59] What do I [00:01:00] mean by that? 

[00:01:00] Well, in the general spectrum of things at the very start of this lockdown period, the mantra that prevailed was that we're all in this together .Well that was partly true. The situation of Covid was universal and the same for everybody, but the implications of its impact were different depending on one thing: the individual's context.

[00:01:26] I have a nephew who's young free and single for whom it was a gift. He didn't have to go into work every day. He could work from home without the distractions. He could get his work done in half the time. So he had half the time available to himself to do what he pleased. Contrast that with some other friends of mine, both of whom are working as a couple at home, from home, with young children. No balcony, in an apartment, no garden, trying to care for elderly parents. Whilst one of them was diagnosed positive with COVID. Different contexts, different realities. 

[00:02:00] [00:02:00] It's obvious when I say it, that when two people enter into a conversation, particularly one that's difficult. It's obvious to say that both people are coming at it from a different context.

[00:02:13] Whilst we know that to be true consciously. How people typically prepare for a conversation, particularly where there's a different point of view and we know it is that I start by arsenalling up. I start and look for all the evidence, all the data, all the information, all the facts that support my point of view.

[00:02:34] Meanwhile, the person of the other side is doing exactly the same. Without intending it or knowing it we're actually preparing for war. And ultimately the person with the biggest army and the heaviest artillery wins, however, all wars, create collateral damage. In this case residue, which we discussed in the previous episode.

[00:02:56] And whilst the conversation might end up high on clarity. [00:03:00] It will end up low on commitment and back to our original previous equation about: clarity X commitment =  leadership effectiveness. A 10 out of 10 clarity is no good. If you've got a zero out of 10 commitment, it still results in zero.

[00:03:15] I frequently find leaders who resort to positional power to assert their authority to win a discussion or a debate. Positional power is like a bar of soap. The more you use it, the less you're left with and whilst you might, in the short term, win the battle, you will ultimately lose the war on leadership reputation.

[00:03:38] So let me propose to you an alternative aim. The next time you have a conversation. What if your aim was simply to understand the other person's context? Just simply to understand their context? How would that change t

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