The Messy Middle of Leadership
I don’t know about you, but I can’t watch cooking or baking shows without a healthy dollop of skepticism. Not because they make incredible dishes that I’m incapable of attempting. Not because they infuse even simple meal preparation with too much drama. Not even because the finished items are spectacularly perfect beyond what mortals should be able to accomplish.
No. I resent the lack of visible, preparatory mess.
Rarely do you see the participants making lists. Or checking cabinets and drawers and the pantry to see how much of this-and-that they have left. Or driving to five stores to buy what’s needed. Or leaving everything spread out on the counter while waiting for one ingredient to thaw, melt or harden.
No. They don’t show that. But if you cook, you know that’s where you spend most of your time: in the “messy middle.” And if you’re studying leadership, you know that’s where most of the real work gets done. Which is why I sigh and look at those televised piles of perfectly arranged ingredients and fast-forward delicacies and think, “That’s just not a helpful expectation.”
“The longer the communication, the more important the summary.” – Patrick Donadio
My guest on this week’s “Aim Higher,” Patrick Donadio, has similar things to say about good leadership communications. We look at the final product — whether a speech or an email or even a conversation — and see the final thing, but not the preparation. And we assume, like the audience of a cooking show, that we should be able to snap our fingers and make something perfect appear. But that’s not realistic and we do ourselves (and our teams) a disservice when we don’t plan for success.
“One active listening tool I use is to summarize and repeat back to people what they’ve said.” – Skip Prichard
Communicate with IMPACT
Patrick’s book, Communicating with Impact: Effectively Communicate Ideas and Achieve Greater Results, provides a framework for creating meaningful, powerful communications. IMPACT stands for: Intention, Message, Person, Activate, Clarify, Transform. We touch on each of those concepts briefly and talk about how they can help you learn from your past situations and build on them for more success in the future. It’s a useful blueprint for leaders who want to put in the work, not just sit in the audience.
Patrick Donadio, MBA, is a Certified Speaking Professional and Master Certified Coach who teaches others how to lead more effectively, communicate clearly, present more powerfully, and positively impact the lives of others. In this interview, Skip and Patrick break down some of the lessons from Patrick’s book, “Communicating with IMPACT,” a process he’s developed to help leaders improve interpersonal and organizational communications skills. Listen in to learn how to be more focused and mindful about all your communications and reap some compelling leadership rewards.
“People think their communications are being heard… but 70 to 90% of a message is subjective to the receiver.” – Patrick Donadio
These are techniques I use all the time, and I highly recommend that you give a listen and consider checking out his book. It’s wonderfully pragmatic–essentially a “cookbook” for healthy leadership communications.
For more information, see Communicating with Impact: Effectively Communicate Ideas and Achieve Greater Results.
“As leaders, we think we’re done when we’ve communicated something once. Often, that’s just the first step.” – Skip Prichard
Image Credit: Jorge Zapata