Learning stances

I came across this list of guidelines for learning on Jason Kottke’s site (via Ned Batchelder).

Post script: Dale Emery points out that this list is remarkably similar to David Bohms work on Dialogue, which has been made popular by Peter Senge and others. I’m on the road so I’m away from the actual books. Jason noted the list was from a seminar, but gave no further attribution (innocently enough, I’m sure).

Guidelines for Learning

1. Release the need to be right.

2. Welcome one another’s thoughts and opinions.

3. Suspend judgment.

4. Listen for understanding, not rebuttal.

5. Make personal statements by using “I” rather than “you”.

6. Clarify first what was said before you challenge someone.

7. Take time to reflect.

8. Lean into discomfort.

9. Respond first to what was said before making your point.

10. Have fun.

I’d add:

11. Make the most generous possible interpretation.

I talked to a manager a while back who described a situation where a person on her team was “too angry to speak.”

“How did you know?” I asked.

“Oh, I could just tell,” she replied.

Truth is, we can’t “just tell” what is going on for someone else. Much of the time we make up an explanation… and we’re often wrong.

If we’re going to make something up, we might as well make up a generous interpretation, and act out of that.

(And of course we can always check out what’s going on for the other person.)