Wednesday with Wally – How to be a Changemaker

I remember heading into a big meeting with Wally. He was bringing me into the meeting to share my ideas and expertise on a certain situation. We needed to partner with a larger organization in order to get our project running. But due to internal politics, there were always obstacles.

The man that we were meeting was open to new ideas. He was in management for this organization. Wally thought that with my fresh eyes and ideas on the project, I would be the best to deliver them.

For some reason, Wally wanted to meet me 30mins prior to our actual meeting. Those 30mins changed the way I now lead, deliver ideas, and work with people to make things happen. Here are the lessons:

  1. Listen more than you talk – I LOVE sharing my thoughts about everything but often times my excitement is reciprocated with glazed overwhelm. The first thing Wally said to me was, “Listen more than you talk. You have all your ideas you want to share, but don’t just present them/bark them out. You need to listen more than you talk. You do this by asking questions. Through those questions, you can lead the conversation to planting seeds of your ideas.
  1. Planting Seeds – Organizations are not agile like entrepreneurs. Great ideas are not jumped upon. In fact, the total opposite happens. Change is often met with resistance. It takes many people to change the direction of a big ship. By planting seeds versus presenting your ideas, you are allowing the ideas to germinate, grow legs and bloom. By planting the seeds, your ideas become their ideas.
  1. Detach from recognition – This was a big one. When he began to talk about planting seeds and having the other person think that your ideas were their ideas I started to get uncomfortable because I felt the need to be the leader/ the top dog of my ideas! The gut check Wally told me to figure out, “Is it more important for this “thing” (movement, cause, change) to happen or is it more important for you to get recognition?” Empowering others with your ideas builds capacity for you to do more and change more. When you can “detach from recognition” you can build a stronger team and inspire others to help you.

I am constantly amazed with the simple lessons taught through the experience of years. Thanks Wally.