What’s the number one obstacle that I see when it comes to personal relationships?
You guessed it, bad communication. That’s why we revisit this subject so often, because it’s something we have to continually work on.
There are habits, or learned behaviors, that we all have that can get in the way of real communication. Simple things that you may not even realize you’re doing can choke the information you’re sending or receiving!
On today’s podcast, we’ll dig into the garden and discuss three of the most common weeds that we find choking our communication with others.
436 | Cultivating Real Communication Part 1
communication, clarity, position, communicating, people, person, ambiguity, life, relationship, thanksgiving, process, discover, understand, response, paying, respond, easy, weeds, experiencing, perspective
Chris LoCurto 00:00
How cultivating clarity in relationships is a lot like weeding your garden. That's coming up next.
Chris LoCurto 00:16
Welcome to the Chris LoCurto show, where we discuss leadership and life, and discover that business is what you do, not who you are. Welcome to the show, folks. Listen, over the years, you've heard me talk about gainng perspective a lot. And you've heard me talk about it, especially in relationships recently, on the episode 399. And we discussed going after clarity with curiosity and sincerity, right? So it comes up all the time. So why do we have to keep revisiting it? Well, because most people think their communication is already good enough. But it's not. Sorry. It's just not. Right? We have to keep working on it, we have to keep doing something about it, you've probably heard that communication is the lifeblood of any organization. That is a fact. It is the number one issue that we see with every business coming in for Stratplan is that there is a lack of high levels of quality communication. But, just good communication really isn't good enough. It's not good enough to grow, it's not good enough to make healthy relationships. In order for something to be healthy. In order for something to grow. In order for something to thrive. You've got to intentionally cultivate its soil communication must be cultivated. Organizations thrive or die on the quality of communication. Just think about it. How many times have you seen amazing things happen when your communication is just solid? And how many more times which you can probably count a heck of a lot more, how many more times have you seen problems coming from a lack of communication? Have you seen people at each other's throats? Have you seen balls being dropped because people aren't communicating well? It's a lot. We've got to actually cultivate this, right, we strive for high levels of quality communication, that's what we're looking for not just good. Most people think they have good. What they discover is when we get an impulse things apart is that they discover that it's not even good enough that it's usually struggling. And so when we pull things apart in Stratplan, what we discover is that every business there communication is considerably less than they think it is when it comes to quality. And it tends to be-not tends to, it is the number one reason why things are holding them back. The number one issues, we always find communication is number one, lack of accountability is number two. So consider this carefully, low qualities of clarity, equal low qualities of communication. The truth is, there are all sorts of things that get in the way of clear communication. Now we have to constantly be tilling the soil, we have to constantly be removing the rocks, the weeds, and striving for clarity but how do we do that? Well, when we come back, I want to unpack a process for discovering and removing what's blocking clarity in your communication. And we'll get into that right after this.
Chris LoCurto 03:50
Folks, if you've been listening to me for any length of time, then you know the number one issue when it comes to business, when it comes to family, when it comes to friendships, is having a lack of high quality communication. To make sure that you are absolutely winning in every aspect of your life, it all starts with having great communication. The best way to get that communication is to understand your personality style, and to understand the personality style of the folks that you're spending the most time with, whether it be at work, whether it be at home. The best way to do that is to go to chrislocurto.com/store and get your personality profile and personality profiles for your team today. Get for your family members, today. As you go through that profile, you will begin to see the greatest ways to communicate. Go to chrislocurto.com/store today.
Chris LoCurto 04:49
So when it comes to cultivating communication in our relationships, here's a key statement that I want you to think about, or you know, to process on. Most relationship problems stem from poor communication. Most relationship problems, think of every relationship problem you've ever had. How many of those are stemming from bad communication? Right? If there's room for ambiguity, then there's room for confusion, which equates to increased failure, right? However, where there's no ambiguity, there can be very few misunderstandings. Each person should understand the other. If we've removed the ambiguity, we've done a great job at clarifying exactly what it is we're trying to communicate, it should be easy at that point to understand each other, right? Each person should be able to take personal responsibility. If I clearly understand what's expected of me, if it's been clearly communicated, to me, there's no ambiguity in the process, I should be able to take personal responsibility, which is so important when we're trying to lead people, right? We want people to take personal responsibility. If there's no ambiguity, then tasks should be easier, right? We should all be able to cooperate in the process, you're doing what you're doing, I'm doing what I'm doing. And it's clear, there's, again, no ambiguity, we know what to do, things should get done. That's how it should be with high clarity, communication is more pure, it's it's of a higher quality. And hey, while we're talking about communicating the clarity, here's something I want you to know for my team, I expect, I teach my team not to wait for clarity. If you don't have clarity on something, go get it. If somebody has led you, directed you, given you information on something and you're still not clear on what that looks like go get it. Do not wait. Do not put it on the backburner. Do not expect that somebody is going to come by and clarify it for you instead, go get the answer right now. So speaking to clarity, you're probably already very familiar -I'm sure you are since you are following the show- of these basic communication techniques. Number one, listening intentionally. What does that mean? Folks. So many people listen to respond. So many people listen to be able to insert their opinion, to be able to insert their expertise, their knowledge, their whatever, their criticism, whatever. Listening intentionally is not listening to respond. It's listening to understand, it's listening for clarity purposes. One of the things you have to do is make sure that when you are listening in your relationships, to the communication that is coming your direction, if your focus is on responding, you're going to end up in the weeds. If your focus is on understanding, you're going to have a heck of a lot better communication. Number two, providing feedback. Again, just like listening intentionally, many people provide feedback to give criticism, to give their input, to give their ideas, their thoughts instead of providing feedback that is beneficial solely for the person who's communicating. Right? So if somebody is trying to communicate something to me and bring clarity to me, if I provide feedback, the goal isn't to say, "Here's what I know. And I understand and here's how smart I am and how amazing I am." Instead, it's to provide feedback on getting to clarity of the communication. Number three, paying attention. Super easy, it's actually not that difficult. If you're distracted on your phone, you're not paying attention. If you're waiting for your opportunity to jump in, you're not paying attention. If you're looking around the room and thinking about what you're going to eat for lunch today. You're not paying attention, if you'll stay focused and you will pay attention to what the person is communicating, it gives you the ability to ask questions, gain perspective. You know, push back on what you're being told any of those things. So you have to make sure that you're focusing and paying attention on what's being communicated to you. Number four, keeping an open mind this is super, super important.
Chris LoCurto 09:35
If you have a closed mind to the information that's coming to you, then you will have already set up your decisions, your ideas, your you know, responses, all those things are going to be already in place because you already know what you know. You already think you know what you know, you already have the answers. One of the things I love leading leaders on is being curious, and in the perspective gathering process, ask even though they already know the answer, because here's a great thing. If I believe I've already got the answer, then what do I need your opinion for? What do I need your input for, right? However, as a leader, what I like to do is, well, this is the direction I'm going, this is the answer I have let me tax the collective intelligence and find out if somebody got a better answer. So when I tax the collective intelligence, it does multiple things, and allows my team to speak into the process. It causes them to think and process, the best answers that they can. And by gosh, a great thing is it also helps them to take ownership because they now have buy into the process. But one of the best things is, what if they have a better answer than what I've got? Many times that happens, I might have the answer. I know this is answer, this is the thing I want to do. And then somebody throws a curveball. And I'm like, oh, yeah, that's actually a much better response. So keep an open mind in the process of communication. And number five, responding appropriately. Now, once again, if we are focusing on us, if we're being selfish, if we're focusing on wanting to give our opinion, our direction, if we want us to sound good, if we want to gain worth from it, then our response probably isn't going to be the best response, it's probably not going to be incredibly helpful in the clarification process. But if I'm really focused on making sure that I get clarity from the person who's communicating to me, then my response should be in alignment with that. If I'm not getting clarity, I should ask questions. If I disagree with something, I should push back and ask questions, right? Responding appropriately is incredibly important. If you're going to have clarity in your communication. Now, many trying to do these things. But problems persist. So what are the weeds in our communication garden? We're gonna get to that when we come back right after this.
Freedom, it's so powerful.
I felt rejuvenated, almost renewed.
I just felt so welcomed and loved and accepted for who I am, and not an ounce of judgment. So I was very comfortable there, that had a really big impact on me.
It's going to be worth it. It's going to be hard. But it's going to be even better. On the other side.
For me, it was just very refreshing. And I want to say life giving, for me, it really was.
You know, I would go through Next Level Life again and probably again, and probably again, because it's so powerful.
Chris LoCurto 12:53
I want you to ask yourself a question. Could you hear the sense of hope and freedom in their voices just then? I want you to know, that could be you. Look, it's easy to get trapped in old habits, negative thought patterns, and unhealthy relationships, it's gonna take some work, but yes, there is hope for you. If you want to experience the same kind of life transformation, the same kind of self-awareness and freedom that they have or maybe you're just curious what the process would look like for you, then head on over to chrislocurto.com/nextlevellife.
Chris LoCurto 13:31
Okay, weed number one. Our position. One of the first weeds that we have got to get out of our garden in this analogy here is our position, our position in the relationship often informs our posture towards the other person. Think about it. Have you ever been in the grocery store and you have a cashier who maybe isn't very talkative? Or seems to have a bad attitude? Or I don't know is just treating you in a way that's not appropriate. Right? What do we normally think? But I'm the customer. I'm the one paying you, which is an accurate thought process, right? If I'm buying these groceries here at your store, you're making your paycheck because I'm one of the many people who's putting money in this stores bank account, and they are paying you from it. So guess what? I'm the customer. However, when our position is solid like that, that, "I'm just right, because this is my position." What we tend to not do is think about the other person, not experience what they're experiencing. One of the things I say a lot is, you know, put yourself in their shoes. You've heard that your whole life, but sometimes we just don't even think to do it, right. So there was a time back in the early-no late 90s. When I was moving into a house on Thanksgiving Day of all days, I'm moving into this house, and didn't have any food, didn't have anything unpacked to cook with, any of that stuff. So we went to one of the only-is literally the only restaurant we could find open on Thanksgiving morning. And if you can put a little imagination into it, you can probably figure out which types of restaurants are open Thanksgiving morning. This is not high quality food. This is tons of sugar and tons of crap, right. But it was food nonetheless. And we were thankful. So we went in, and it was just dead quiet. There were probably a half a dozen tables with people sitting at them. And the waitress was walking around with her head down. She didn't make any contact or anything, right. It was just dead in there. And I'm sitting there not wanting to be moving into my house on Thanksgiving Day. But this is the situation I'm in. And I look around and I think to myself, well praise God, this place is open. Otherwise, where would we eat? And praise God, this gal is giving up of her holiday to make sure that we have food. And so as I'm sitting there, I put myself in her shoes and think to myself, this probably sucks way more for her than it does for me. Right? And so she came by the table and again, not making eye contact. I just looked at her and she was not making eye contact. I just looked at and I said, "Hey, thank you for working your Thanksgiving for us." And she lifted her head and she beamed. She said, "Oh my gosh, thank you. Nobody said anything like that. Thank you so much" I go, "Oh my God, thank you, we really appreciate that you're giving up of your time." And she went bouncing from table to table to table-"You guys do okay, over here? Do you need more coffee? Is there anything else I can get you?" Her whole attitude changed. Why? Because one person put themselves in her shoes, and understood that she didn't want to be there. That this suck sucked for her. That it's something she'd much rather be at home with family doing whatever she did on Thanksgiving, right? And just by changing my position, and thinking about what she's experiencing and where she's coming from, I was able to think of her instead of me, I was able to think of what she's experiencing and feeling instead of thinking about myself. And by doing so it was a great response. So our position has to change sometimes if we're going to get clarity. So think about it if you're married, you know, if you have a spouse, or if you're in a relationship, right, you have a significant other. Here's what we tend to believe when it comes to our position. "But I'm right. I'm always right. This one's always wrong. I'm always right." I know, you've never thought that way ever.
Chris LoCurto 18:23
When you think that you're right. And you believe that you're right, you may be right. But what you may not understand is the other person may just not be seeing it correctly. You may not understand the other person has something else going on. They're experiencing something else in the moment, you may not understand that the person's root system might be screaming at them on how to respond. So by taking the position, "I'm always right." It keeps us from understanding our spouse's position. It keeps us from understanding their perspective. So one of the things I do in Stratplan all the time is- I do it in Next Level Life a lot of a lot of too sometimes- is I've got a coffee canister in front of me usually. And I will ask them, it's one of the Chris LoCurto ones. So it's black. And copper color writing on it. I'll ask the people around the table, "Hey, what color is this canister?" And every time they'll go, "Well, that's black." And I say "Well, what if I said it was blue?" And once in a great while somebody will say, "I'd say you were stupid." Okay. little interesting in their response. But then I take the canister and I turn it halfway around. And I go, "What if my side was blue?" Now obviously it's not it's an all black canister. But what if my side was blue? And that's some people go, "Oh, well, then I guess I wasn't seeing what you were seeing." That's correct. That's an important thing to understand. If our position is that we're always right. Guess what? We're always right even when we're wrong. If we don't stop to focus on what the other person's perspective is, then we're always going to not have clarity and communication. Think about it when it comes to your team members or your children. If your focus is your position is that you're the one who is in charge, then how are you going to always respond? Now, I'm not saying that there aren't times that you need to take that leadership role and respond as somebody who is in authority. That's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is, when your position is you're always the person in authority, then how do we tend to respond to our team members? Sadly, when that is our position, how do we tend to respond to our children? "I'm the one who's in charge, you do what I say." There's only one reason to be that way. And that's because we feel out of control. Right? If I need to be in control then I must always portray that I am in control that I'm the one who's in charge. I'm the one who's older, I obviously know more than you do. Well, if that's my position, then I'm never going to care about what the other person is experiencing. I'm never going to care their perspective, I'm never even going to think about what their perspective is, which means there's not going to be a whole lot of clarity. So in each case, we're prone to communicate based on our position, or relation to the person. Now we can easily get impatient with others with things like just listen to me and do what I say. Right? We can be impatient with our position. This can be a huge obstacle on our communication. This can be huge and making sure we don't get clarity. So we've only made it through our first week. But we're out of time for today. So we're going to pick up next week. In the meantime, consider how your position in any given relationship is feeding your posture towards that person. Maybe take a step back, reassess and reengage with a clear perspective. If you do that, what you may discover is clarity is much easier to obtain, and communication. And when you do that, what you may discover is relationships are much better when you have clarity. Well, folks, we're going to pick up part two next week. I hope this has helped you today. Take this information, change your leadership, change your business, change your life, and join us on the next episode.