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By Kathrin Köster

Deep Listening for better collaboration

We all know it: Communication is key, especially in times of disruptive change.
Yet, we always fall into the same trap:
When we talk to each other, we are waiting for our counterpart to take a breather, and then we get rid of what we want to say.
A meeting typically is a series of monologues with occasional comments to pretend attentiveness. It’s often a waste of time and energy. A lost opportunity to co-create solutions.

Are you in for a different communication experience?

Go for a coffee with an open-minded colleague for a deep listening practice.
Agree on the topic: e.g. an experience that made you really happy.
Agree on the rules: no interruptions, no comments, just listening with all senses switched on, fully immersed in what your counterpart is sharing with you.
Start with the challenge: 5 minutes deep listening for each person, then you swap.
Wrap-up: What happened? What did you and your counterpart feel and observe?

You will discover how rich communication can be when you practice deep listening.
Maybe, you’d like to make it a habit in your team and see what impact deep listening has on the quality of collaboration.

By Kathrin Köster

The Power of Different Perspectives – All Shades of Brown

Last week, I was in the South African parliament. I listened to President Zuma and what he had to say regarding corruption. Regardless of the question, the answer was always the same: It’s all Apartheid’s fault. Given the fact that this discriminatory system has been abolished in 1994, I felt slightly surprised that he got away with this simplistic rhetoric.

To me this is old black and white thinking in the literal sense. It’s so deeply engrained in all of our societies, regardless of the continent. And it also comes along in the modern dress of the internet and social media. Do you like or dislike this statement, comment, picture or video? Thumbs up or down?

But do we always have to judge?

The point with binary judgments is: We stay in certain patterns, in preconceived notions we have been brought up with. And it’s the either – or – thinking that limits ourselves to two options only. What about the ‘rest’? And what about all the other shades of brown that are between black and white? When we open up to what others see and say, we can gain a lot.

Photo: Paul Emmet, Nyasha Karumazondo, Kathrin Köster

Three different people on the same journey through South Africa:

Overwhelmed by the beauty of nature, I am so grateful to experience what this planet has to offer.  Janine can’t believe to see what is possible in Africa and feels thrilled to go ahead with her transformational work in her own country up North. And Harry sees how communities of colored people emancipated themselves, turning options into opportunities.

All three perspectives are valuable and offer a different aspect: Nurturing, motivational, societal.

If we stop the habit of judging, we discover the wealth of perceptions and ideas. This brings color to our lives – and creativity to our organizations.

By Kathrin Köster

JOY – A WOW-Factor!

Two days ago, I talked to Claire who shared the following story with me:

“I was so happy. I exceeded the budget figures. Together with my team, I was better than the forecast in a very difficult market. I went into Annett’s office – who is my boss – to share the breaking news, and guess what her reaction was? Annett briefly interrupted her conversation with Michael, a colleague, barely looked up and mumbled: ‘Oh, ok!’ Then, she continued to talk with Michael. I wanted to say more to highlight how unexpected this positive result was, but I swallowed my words and returned to my desk. I felt like I had hit a wall…”

Joy turned into disappointment within a blink of an eye. Why?

Annett was distracted and not in the mood of listening to Claire. She could not take in the good news. She was not switched on with all senses. Otherwise, she would have picked up the positive feeling Claire brought into the room. Annett missed the opportunity to receive and even reinforce Claire’s positive energy and sharing her joy.

Instead, her absent-mindedness or ‘absent-heartness’ transformed joy into something negative.

JOY is FREE ENERGY. Sharing joy boosts the motivation of all team members. It’s a real WOW-factor for great team work. It requires openness from both sides – the ‘sender’ and the ‘receiver’.

So, what about a new habit for tomorrow?

Share joy – and ENJOY tuning into the joy of your team members!

It’s easy, just needs awareness and mutual encouragement. Check it out.

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Deep Listening for better collaboration
(Deutsch) „Lasst uns nicht über türkische Männer sprechen, lasst uns mit ihnen sprechen.“
The Power of Different Perspectives – All Shades of Brown
JOY – A WOW-Factor!
Grenzenlos – wie Bi-Cultural Intelligence Dein Leben ändern kann