February 2023     Edition 168
Listening to the Thinking of others

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Do you listen to and debate others


solutions, or

do you listen for and understand the thinking that led them to those solutions?

We often judge another


s view or solution based

on how good it sounds and how it compares to our view and solution. When the conversation is focused on solutions that are being presented, we often quickly get into comparing mode.  This often ends with an argument about who
s right or wrong, and whose idea is better, and the
is the one with more stamina, or the bigger bully, or the manager.


Instead, acknowledge the disagreement, but

t harp on the different solutions, instead, strive to understand the thinking that got to those solutions.  


Start the conversation by understanding the assumptions

that everyone is making, and why they are making those assumptions.  What information, what experiences, what sources are people using to make those assumptions?


In addition, we weigh our experiences and information

we have in different ways.  Different people might read the same thing, yet one person might dismiss it as not being that important, while another might weigh it as very important.   It
s really helpful to have that discussion so everyone is aware of how they are weighing information and why they are weighing it that way.


We call this Critical Listening

because you
re striving to understand the thinking that others are using to reach their solution.   Once critical listening occurs, you can continue to explore and discuss the sources of information, the relevance, and the weighing of importance to the situation.


Most importantly

, you have to be humble with the possibility that you might discover that your thinking is based on information that might be inaccurate.  Perhaps, you
re putting more weight on something or less on something else, inappropriately.


The Takeaway: 
We call this kind type of conversation, i.e. listening to the thinking of others, a neutral critical thinking and listening conversation.  It’s a conversation (not an argument) about the thinking that was used to arrive at a view or solution.   One of the amazing outcomes of this neutral critical thinking and listening conversation is that the thinking gets combined and new ideas are often formed from the union of the thinking of others.

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