Have you ever noticed that something you may have said in a conversation, may have sent that person’s mind thinking, to the extent that they are no longer listening to you, but are processing their own ideas and thoughts. Moreover you have no idea what they are now thinking about.
In effect they have drifted into a state where their mind is processing ideas and working through something. This is an altered state of mind and, if deliberately induced can be considered a mild form of hypnosis.
Last night I attended a session on conversational hypnosis, where Jamie Smart, (an NLP coach and trainer) demonstrated how you can easily do this deliberately, as well as unintentionally. For instance he used the example where he would drop into a conversation a question such as, “so what do you want from reading this blog” and how quickly people started to think about this, even though it was not asked directly.
Now returning to this blog.
I do think its interesting to compare what happens in an individual human, with what happens in organisation. I find that you can start to see parallels and it it also is useful explain things that are going on. Especially when communicating strategy. By now, you will see where I am going.
For instance, I was also thinking this morning about organisations go into altered states and sometimes drift off to process things. The most striking example was an organisation I was working with last year. The management team were to announce the “New strategy presentation” which was coming up in a few weeks. The email that was sent out included the line, “And in a couple of months we’ll also be presenting the location strategy”.
Yes, you have guessed it. The effect of this was staggering. For at least two days no work was done. Rumours abounded. People started considering their futures once their site was closed (even though there was no announcement whatsoever so far). As it happens they were right and the site was to close over the next two years, but that was not the point. Between the “suggestion” and the actual announcement, there was a noticeable different air in the place as people sized up opportunities and considered the implications of moves, changes and whether they would get a place in the new, smaller structure.
A simpler example is when a change is announced (or not even announced but simply rumours take hold) and the organisation takes time to think about it and process it. It even occurs when new measures are made, new practices are introduced or with anything where people’s activities and work is influenced.
So, when thinking about strategy communication and what effect you want to have on your staff, you need to consider two things:
- Am I sure that I am not causing the mind of the organisation to drift off into some altered state and lose sight of what they should be doing?
- Can I make the communication more effective by inviting people to think about the implications and help implementation?