Where yes meets no

The tension between Past and Future Thinking.

Communication between Future thinkers and Past thinkers is essential for collaboration, yet here lies a real challenge. The Future thinker’s way of thinking about things—their modus operandi—which is to say yes to opportunities and solutions, is suddenly confronted, as it tries to share its ideas, with a no oriented point of view. As in, we don’t KNOW enough about this, it might be a risk with consequences.

This can be difficult for Future thinkers to hear. It doesn’t have the open, enthusiastic, solution-oriented feel that typifies Future thinking. Being met with skepticism, no matter how warranted, is never easy.

There is a solution, however.

By becoming aware of the potential for difficulties, both Future and Past thinkers can take responsibility to think about the way they engage with each other.

Past thinkers need time to reflect on what they are being told. They need to ask questions to which they may not yet be an answer. They also have an in-built aversion to taking risks and being pushed too quickly into making a decision, especially when moving in unknown territory.

Future thinkers need to be able to paint verbal pictures in their efforts to communicate what they are seeing in their minds. They use metaphors that require the listener to do the work of translating the metaphor into the context being spoken about. And, for those who deal in facts and specifics, this kind of vague construal of ideas is difficult to comprehend.

Nothing shoots down enthusiasm for a possible solution faster than doubt or skepticism. It breeds defensiveness and frustration. Honest inquiry with an open mind is far more productive. This takes practice and there is nothing more effective at cementing change than the acknowledgment of progress being made. Taking the time to acknowledge and thank each other for making the effort to truly listen and communicate toward people’s needs, is a winning strategy, and a big lever for change.

Read on…

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