The ‘fly on the wall’ – (an experiment to help you influence change) Part 1

| 28 April 2021

You don’t influence change by starting with furious activity.

You start by observing what is.

Here’s something to get you started.

This experiment is best done in a small meeting that you are not chairing. (It can be virtual or face to face). Ideally it would be a meeting that you attend regularly.
Your role in this meeting is to watch and observe AND as we coaches like to say a lot… ‘to be curious without judgement’. The purpose is simply to tune your antennae and to practise reading the room – so that you start to notice things that would normally pass you by.

The 80/20 rule applies here.

You need to listen for 80% of the time and speak only for 20%. Here are ten things to pay attention to:

  • Imagine you are looking down at the meeting in your helicopter. What do you notice? Is everyone there on time? Are people prepared? Who is quietly texting or sending emails (they think we don’t notice – but we do!)
  • Look at each person in turn. Notice their body language (but don’t assume that you can interpret what it means – try to do so at your peril!). Even in virtual meetings you can observe some interesting body language.
  • Notice everyone’s contribution, or not, to the meeting.
  • Notice who just repeats what someone else says and adds nothing new.
  • Tune into your own feelings and emotions. Do you feel bored? Energised? Excited? Impatient?
  • Notice connections or conflict, spoken or unspoken, between others.
  • Notice how people listen to others and respond to others (interrupting, sighing, rolling eyes, nodding head….) 
  • Do people commit to things but as they commit you know, in your heart, that they are not really committed (and therefore they won’t deliver?)
  • If you could describe the meeting metaphorically, how would you describe it (one leader who carried out this experiment described the meeting as a ‘game of two halves with only one half on the pitch’).
  • What else do you notice that you have not tuned in to before?

This is your first experiment in ‘reading a room’ and focusing on others rather than yourself.

  • What new insights have you got?
  • What data is in the room that might be important – but you’ve never noticed it before?
  • What have you learned about what you might need to pay attention to in your own interactions?
  • How might observing all of this help you to improve your own influence and impact?

How can you effect change? (More on this in my next post)

My Lead with Confidence programme is all about change. You don’t just get two days to fill your head with information, ideas , new concepts – and then ‘on your way’. You get 90 days with my personal support every single week. We implement, we experiment, we get feedback, we take action. And that’s where the magic happens.