“I trust thee…I trust thee not”

Mies was right: it’s in the details

The vocally naïve narrator featured in the lead video for CRM Idol is competent enough, yet that “thin slice” difference is all it takes to disregard the speaker or fail to engage the viewer. The split second pauses and varying inflections that distinguish “speaking to” from “talking with” make a huge difference in customer engagement because someone who is obviously reading to you is typically not passionately engaged in a conversation with you, but merely a paid performer or a dutiful worker. Neither of those inspires what Kathy Sierra calls in the linked video, an I Rule! moment. She tells us: “Take bold leaps,” rather than the incremental, continuous improvement of kaizen.

So details matter

Malta Systemkey Grad Students

My Maltese Grad Students at EdBI, University of Malta

Before my teaching trip to Malta, I contacted Maria Elizabeth Grabe so I could share with my graduate students the findings of her fascinating paper co-authored with Lelia Samson, that have significant implications for risk professionals.

Turns out that the messenger may need to look like one. Multi-cultural elites can rant all they want about why their worldview should prevail. When culture encounters physics (in this case biology), physics wins. How often have you heard (or said), “It’s not what you said, it’s how you said it.”?

In this study of how young people absorb news, (all 386 participants were under 30), Grabe and Samson found—surprise(!)—men and women process information differently!

This graph from Sexual Cues Emanating From the Anchorette Chair: Implications for Perceived Professionalism, Fitness for Beat, and Memory for News, shows that women encoded more information, (paid more attention and were able to recall it), for the newsreader dressed in feminine attire compared with the same news articles, setting and audience, with the woman newsreader dressed to minimize sexual cues.

male vs female info processing

Image: Grabe

While the study reports men disproportionally allocate visual resources over auditory, this is not news to wives all over the world… Men’s attention on the newsreader’s appearance limited their uptake of spoken information, so they were able to recall substantially less about the stories she read during the simulated newscast.

While this comes as no surprise to some, it does confirm and endorse the now-integrated US military’s decision that men’s and women’s combat uniforms are practically identical.

Practical Magic

The magic in the classic folktale Stone Soup is not the pebble, the magic is that several soldiers were able to inspire the trust of the villagers to share their “secret stash” by heightening their awareness with effective theatre, yielding a hunger for more.

Yarak quote, page 78

Image: Amazon

Hunger can be a good thing when it leads to a superalert state called yarak.

This intellectually hungry, ready-to-hunt state is also the prime ingredient that, when matched with trust, will help both the soldiers and the villagers at YOUR company discover the residual risks that have been staring you in the face for ages.

Marshall McLuhan is still right, the medium is the message, or at least a dominant part of it.

Listen for the story beneath the story

Dave Severn, a business leader from Spokane, recently lost his wife of many decades. In talking through the pain of his loss and the joy that her suffering was over, he has given a series of profoundly reflective comments, one of which I’ll use to close this piece.

When people of influence give advice, they usually tell two stories: one that you hear with your outer ear, the words you’re hearing now and one that’s between the lines, that takes what they’re trying to tell you to a deeper level. If you don’t listen for feelings, meanings and undercurrents, you’ll miss the most important story between the lines.

Here’s a closing thought: listen with the purpose of understanding people today. Seek to gain knowledge from their experience, their perspective, from their feelings. If you’re not careful you might just learn something new and very valuable; as well as make a closer friendship.

As always, Carpe Diem!

Matt

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A walk in the forest…

Systems Thinking teaches us how to scale our perspective to study the forest or the trees, while Systems Engineering tells us what to do with the data we find.

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