32. How do you make sure you’re listening to others’ input? #LifeWideLearning16@bhwilkoff
— Zac Chase (@MrChase) February 1, 2016
“I changed my mind once. It was awful.” -Anyone who listens to someone else and actually has to change their mind because they started to incorporate someone else’s worldview into their own.
Getting input, empathy interviews or just receiving feedback is mostly an empty gesture. It is an act of wordsmithing or placating others. It is a box to check off to say that listening occurred. Because input means that your idea wasn’t good enough. You don’t need others to prove your thinking. You just know.
I mean, unless, you think someone else could make your idea better. Unless, of course, there is something to be gained by listening to others and actually changing your orientation. I guess, there might be something to creating genuine buy-in through the process of co-creation. Perhaps, if others had their thinking incorporated and could see themselves in the finished product, it might ensure its success.
It just seems like a lot of work.
Actual listening requires change. And change is hard. It seems like we could all save a lot of time if we all thought the same way and others would just sign off on whatever it is that I am thinking. Couldn’t we try that for a little while?
No? Okay then…
I often say “we win when our words come out of other peoples’ mouths.” I also think the reverse is true. We all win when other peoples’ words come from our mouths and through our fingers as we type. The kind of input that creating the future of teaching and learning requires is so constant that we should have to cite every other sentence as we write it.
There is no lone genius or singularly great idea to change the world. There is only input. There is only listening and changing to meet the needs of others. We cannot be so arrogant or soloed to think that our problems are unique. We exist within a context of others, and their input is what helps to drive our growth.
I know that I have listened well enough to others when they trust me to speak on their behalf. I know it when they see my work as their work and try to advocate for it within their own spaces. And I know it most acutely when I flat out change my mind. When listening makes it so I no longer am the same person, I know that I have done it right.