As we grow up we learn so many different skills, we learn to walk, speak, read, write, cook, play an instrument, or a sport. We learn how to operate yet another remote control! We don’t stop learning all through our lives.Yet, learning a skill is closely connected to our identity. This can be a positive thing. And it can also hold us back.
Physical and mental ability permitting, we all learn any skill to the level that we need to get us by in life. However, in order to excel at a skill, we need to have something more. A greater motivation. This additional motivation lies in our identity. How we perceive ourselves in relation to those around us.
An example might be my own skill at playing football. I have learnt to kick a football about, and I know to aim at a goal if I want to have a chance of winning. However, I have never identified as a footballer. I have never dreamt of becoming one and therefore, I have little motivation to improve my skills beyond the family kickabout in the park.
A similar challenge applies in business. All business, across all sectors and when it comes to communication, this phenomenon couldn’t be more apparent. We need our people to communicate with purpose.
We need our people to communicate with purpose
Many of our clients employ the brightest brains with the most potential. Their technical excellence may be second to none. Yet, how many are also a safe pair of hands when it comes to delivering the strategic message, or leading a team?
Much of it boils down to identity. It really is as simple as that.
How many people at school dreamt of becoming great communicators? How many spent hours and hours practicing speaking, listening and developing their style? Like they would practicing an instrument or learning a sport? How many just learnt as much as they needed to get by within their family unit, with friends and at school?
Very few people identify as communicators, in the same way they would identify as an accountant, doctor, footballer, musician, economist etc… Indeed, many are more than glad to hand the ‘communicator’ baton to someone else.
In truth, as with most skills, the majority develop just enough skill as communicators to enjoy the relationships and events that matter most to them. This brings to surface both the problem and the opportunity.
In my experience, when we tap into the individual’s dreams of who, rather than what, they want to be and how they want to be perceived by others, we open up an abundant resource and desire to develop the skills that support that identity. The ability to communicate well, in my experience, automatically and without exception, becomes a priority. From this point, skills can be developed fast.
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Join the discussion One Comment
This makes so much sense, Lucy. So important to know my bigger purpose if I’m to really excel. You have such a great style in helping me do that.