It started small…

Sitting quietly she took it all in. All? That’s overstating things a bit. She listened to everything. She didn’t always understand what everyone was saying (there was a lot of guff) but she understood what was going on.

It was in the pauses between words, the speed and accent, the rhythm of things. That’s how she knew what was going on. It was in their faces and gestures. Her sense of things was effortlessly accurate.

So for a long time she drew her pictures in the margins of her notebook and felt inadequate.

Putting these things into words was not her natural response. She could do it, but honestly she was better at drawing the picture. Initially this felt like failure. It felt like there was no space for her view. And that she was not pulling her weight.

One day her boss worked it out. Got her to explain what the pictures all meant. She was pretty terrified; this could have gone very badly for her. But she discovered something…when she talked to the pictures things just kind of flowed. It was much easier for her. And her boss was no fool. She could see that it made sense, somehow cut through the crap. Landed. Perfectly.

It started small. After important meetings they would meet for coffee and her boss would find out what was really going on in the meeting. They would explore the problems in a different light. Her boss found decision making started to become a little easier.

Then, one day, with quite a bit of coaxing, her boss convinced her to share one of her pictures with the whole team. She almost couldn’t breathe. She knew it would be a disaster. That they wouldn’t get it, or maybe think it was childish (there was more than one MBA in the room after all), or worse think her ideas were plain wrong, stupid even. But she did it, mainly because she trusted her boss, wanted to help her, and if she thought this would work…

There was a quite attention in the room that surprised everyone. It was a like a film of cling wrap had been removed and they could all feel the things they were trying to achieve just a little more crisply. A few people even felt a little emotional. A lot of them felt relieved.

And it grew from there. Until one day someone new joined the team and it seemed unusual to all of them that they had to explain what was going on. Wasn’t this just how things were done?

By Luke Hockley


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