FranklinCovey Consultant Blogs | Todd Wangsgard | Veterans Health Administration
In my field of work, it’s okay to take your work home with you, right?
About 12 years ago, after teaching my first 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, I remember making an effort to really turn on Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood. I had only been married a few months and wanted to show my new bride, Jana, that I was the world’s best husband. I came home from work one day, greeted my wife, and just sat there listening to her. Unlike any other day, I didn’t pick up the paper. I didn’t turn on the TV. I just stared at her and listened.
I didn’t’ get 30 seconds into my intense listening mode, when Jana said to me, “You’d better not be trying any of that work stuff on me.”
Sure, I could have been a little less obvious. And yes, I have improved my technique after a dozen or so years. (How do you stack up?) My point is, however, that when we want to make significant improvements in an interpersonal skill, we may need to step out and do something different and sometimes uncomfortable. We must appreciate the incremental progress we make along the way and be sure to break down our overall objective into bite-size pieces. Additionally, it’s always helpful to forewarn those who will be most affected by our new behavior that we’re trying something new. At least Jana didn’t turn and say to me, “Who are you and what have you done with my husband?”
At least I tried. (And, for the record, I’m still working on listening.) That’s the single most gratifying result I witness each week. I am thrilled to hear at least one person from each workshop or consulting session report back on the tremendous success they experience when they earnestly try even one piece of what we studied.
To illustrate my point, here is yet another compelling testimonial, this time from Cathy, a Veterans Health Administration associate, who attended one of my Project Management workshops a couple weeks ago (shared with permission, of course):
“I have realized several positive changes in my project management ability as a result of applying what I learned. Prior to attending your training session, I had no planned way of organizing a project. I now feel that I am able to manage and guide projects from point A to point B in a way that demonstrates efficiency and clarity. I now have a plan to resolve problems before it is too late, or before the problem gets out of control. Finally, I believe that I now do a much better job of prioritizing my goals and making better use of my time.” (click here to learn more about FranklinCovey’s Government Solutions.)
Our progress is a never-ending path of wins that come from the effort we put forth every day. Let’s not forget Dr. Leo Marvin’s advice from the 1991 comedy movie, “What About Bob?” – Baby Steps!