Do you want to have more impact? Try saying less

There’s a famous saying “May you live in interesting times.”  There’s debate as to the saying’s origin, but there’s certainly no doubt that it applies today.

The world really is an amazing place and change is everywhere, particularly as we live in a VUCA world.  This is a world which is:

  • Volatile – because everything is connected and rapidly changing
  • Uncertain – because everything will continue to change and in ways we often can’t predict
  • Complex – as there is a multiplicity of stakeholders, strategies, customer needs, and supplier options, with varying needs and impacts
  • Ambiguous – as there is lots of information, but we are often unsure as to what it all means and how it will play out

What this means is that change doesn’t occur in a vacuum.

Changes in teams, organisations, communities and the environment takes place amidst a stream of other changes.  There are connections, dependencies and impacts many of which are known, and many of which are unknown.

This is why context is critical.

The Gettysburg speech, which he delivered in 1863 to commemorate the Union soldiers killed at the battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War, is recognised as one of the world’s greatest speeches.

Lincoln didn’t use a lot of words to have an impact.  Just 272 words in fact.  Delivered in under 3 minutes.

Leaders are often taught to be “on message”. The problem is this approach often comes across as staged and inauthentic.  It seems contrived and rehearsed, and consequently people don’t connect with the message or the person delivering it.

Taking the time to craft your content is important.

Ground your messages in reality and what your team members and colleagues need to know.

In times of change people want to know: what’s happening and why; where and how they fit in; what they have to do and by when; how they do it; what support they will receive; and how and when they can be involved.

Keep it simple.  Be empathetic and above all else, believe your own message.  It will show when you don’t.

Change happens.  Make it work for you.

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