August 19, 2011
From Private Thoughts to Public Actions
We can't act on what we don't know.
We can't know unless we talk about it.
We can't talk about it unless it's made public.
So often progress is blocked because the necessary conversation among the right people isn't happening. And that frequently happens because people assume others already know and are choosing not to do something about the concern in question, or because the people who can/need to change aren't being given the feedback that would lead them to do so.
It's fine to complain about a co-worker's annoying behavior to a friend, but your friend isn't the one who could actually stop the behavior that bothers you. At some point you need to chat with the source.
If you find yourself (either as a speaker or listener) engaging in small group conversations that begin "What we really need to do around here is ..." or "I sure wish someone would ..." ask yourself what contribution you can make to advancing the desired ending or who needs to be invited into the conversation to help make things happen.
And if you find yourself having that conversation with yourself, inside your own head, know that the only way to make progress is if you make your private thoughts public and invite others to engage in the conversation and the necessary commitments.
I once did many things for many people: strategy, speaking, program development, workshop design and more. I still do so in limited quantities while on an extended writing sabbatical writing, Say Yes Less: Why It Matters and How To Do It..