Conditioning plays a role in much of what we do. As children or young adults many have learned to keep quiet, to not say anything, and just sit back and observe. However, it is constructive contributions that will have an impact on your future.
Speak Up, Listen, Contribute
Many people are afraid to speak up. It may be from ridicule, from the risk of being wrong, or because past experience has taught us it is safer without comment.
There is value in listening more, and many people should practice better listening, but what things are going unsaid?
How many times have you sat in the meeting with a thought on your mind but you failed to share it? How many times could the lost sale, lost client, or lousy performance have been prevented?
The value of constructive contributions is very high but like many high value items it is often very rare.
People often measure risk in the wrong way. What is riskier, speaking up, or watching the team go down the wrong path?
It may be alarming the number of times that things go unsaid. Of course, sometimes inaction may be the right action. How do you know what to do?
When you paraphrase, you often increase understanding and limit miscommunication. What is the risk or the harm? Little or none.
When you build on others ideas for the benefit of the decision, there is little effort wasted and the quality of the decision improves. You also invite future contributions.
When you take a chance, leap, and risk with thoughtful, constructive contributions, you may change the outcome. You may invent something new, better, or appropriately encourage redesign.
The best job security, the highest probability for a promotion, and the insurance of a future for your organization may exist through constructive contributions.
While there may be some risk, the value is great.
Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.