This website covers knowledge management, personal effectiveness, theory of constraints, amongst other topics. Opinions expressed here are strictly those of the owner, Jack Vinson, and those of the commenters.

Can they ever get it

They Just Don't Get It! (Changing resistance into understanding) by Leslie Yerkes and Randy Martin is a quick and entertaining read.  It is written as a how-to manual, not unlike the top-seller Who Moved My Cheese?  I could see it being used to engender discussion within an organization about "changing resistance into understanding."  [Disclosure: The author offered the book as a complementary copy in hopes that I might mention it here.]

The tone of the book is light and fairly to the point.  What is the real problem I have when I claim that "they don't get it?"  Do I act the tourist in a foreign country and start shouting louder when someone doesn't understand my English?  Or do I step back and examine what I can change: me.  I have to learn to listen and speak your language, not force my language down your throat. 

The introduction caught me in the way it introduced the problem as a conflict between me and them.  I immediately started looking for additional clues around a "conflict cloud" (or evaporating clouds) in the theory-of-constraints form.  What shared goal do we have?  What needs do I have, do they have.  And what conflicting actions arise as a result?  Let's say we are working on a project together, and we want that project to move forward.  They have the desire to be heard and understood.  As a result, they stop presentations or discussions when they don't get it.  I have the need to be understood and accepted as the expert.  I want to explain and move forward.  Unfortunately, my explanations don't fit into their mental models and the process stops.  In the TOC world, the next step is to look for the assumptions underlying the connections between the needs and the actions.  And with interpersonal conflicts, I need to focus on my own assumptions, rather than trying to pry into the minds of other people.

The important aspect of this book with respect to conflicts is that I must offer to make the change before I can expect you or someone else to make the change.  In They Just Don't Get It, the solution is to see that when I think they don't get it, it is really that I have not taken the time to see their point of view and their needs. 

By the end of the book, I was hearing much more of the Dale Carnegie principles of listening and getting more buy-in by having people help you see where they understand or don't understand.

Brett Miller at straight lines... has also reviewed the book in Changing resistance into understanding.  A reference to Akido caught his attention, just as the idea of conflict caught mine.

Leslie Yerkes is the author of a number of similar business-change / business-growth / dealing-with-humans books and runs the Catalyst Consulting Group, under the URL  I'm guessing they would be a fun bunch to work with.  I particularly like Leslie's note for another of her books, Beans: Four Principals for Running a Business in Good Times or Bad

Beans will demonstrate clearly, like a good cup of coffee, the quality of your work experience is a direct result of what goes into making it. How you choose what the ingredients will be and what proportion of each you use will determine how good a final product you will brew. Beans will ask you to stop and reflect about the 4 P's and how each of them play out in your work: Passion, People, Personal, Product.

mmmm, Coffee.

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