Last week I was running a Coaching Clinic with a bunch of super cool leaders. Ben was in the group. Ben rocks. Ben is ex-Navy. We were talking about how you manage yourself and others when a conversation is thrown at you. You know the ones.
You’re quietly getting on with doing your job and someone comes up to ‘share their thoughts’. Or someone tells you your idea is not gunna fly. Maybe you’re walking down the street with a friend and they decide to launch into all the reasons why you don’t make the friendship a priority. Or perhaps where you go to give someone feedback and they end up returning the favour. It can be anytime, anywhere.
I asked Ben what he would do in those situations. After all, when you’ve worked in any of the Defence services, and especially a boat for long periods of time, with the same people and you can’t leave. Things can get pretty tense.
Ben said one of the things they were taught of a way of responding to information from a colleague is to ‘Scratch n Sniff’. He had us all by this stage. Do you mean you give them one of those stickers that we all had as kids? What the? Nup.
A more helpful response than getting defensive or going quiet (typical fight or flight responses) is to scratch the surface and sniff out what they might be meaning. Find out more. Ask questions. Get examples. Understand where they are coming from.
I have a saying; People hear your content and smell your intent. So we need to make sure we have enough compelling examples and reasonable opinions, as well as coming from a good place – then it’s good to share.
So maybe this can mean that when we RESPOND to others, even if we didn’t know it was coming, that we can get curious about the same things. Scratch the content. Sniff the intent.
The scratch and sniff technology has been treated with a fragrant coating that is only activated when you scratch it. So maybe if we treated their content in the same way we might find some kind of sweet smelling gift behind it. If you dare 😉
If we don’t I suppose we just become the perceived difficult person and we miss out on an opportunity to learn and at worse a damaged relationship. I know that I have been that person before.
I like it Ben. I like it a lot. Thanks.
Do you scratch n sniff? Or do you react and run?