Tires; worth having good ones though at the end of they day they're still just hoops of rubber.

Tires are important. On any wheeled vehicle they are the contact point with the road or trail. It's important to have good tires; the appropriate size, tread, and rubber compound. The right tire can make a lot of improvements, though it's not a panacea.

Communication is also important. It is the way that organisms interact. For we humans, particularly in the business world, verbal communication is one of the primary contact points between each other. And like tires, it's important to have solid skills; skills can make a lot of improvements, though they're not a silver bullet.

Just as effectively riding a bike is about a lot more than just tires, effective communication is about a lot more than just the words or strategies we use. In both cases, it comes down, once again, to the rider; to the speaker.

As a rider, I achieve the best flow through a give and take, letting the bike find its own way, letting the trail dictate to an extent where the bike goes. It's a dance, really. Highly dynamic. And, when I cannot do this, when I exert too much control or am not strong enough to pull the bike back when it goes too far, my riding becomes rigid; in many cases it's the precursor to a crash.

As a collaborator, the same pattern is required, giving a sense of space to those I am conversing with, riffing off each other to create a highly dynamic, engaging conversation. When one party begins to exert too much control; is not practiced enough, the interaction becomes rigid. In some cases resulting in the interpersonal equivalent of a crash. And when a conversation crashes, you better hope there's some team armor in place to take the hit!

Though back to the rider; I practice riding my bike. Build specific skills, strength, flexibility. Yet when I work with teams on how they are together, there is often the expectation that by simply gaining some new tools; changing to new tires, they will achieve drastically different results. And it's just not true. Communication is a practice built on the cornerstones of deep listening and asking powerful questions. I can, in about 30 minutes teach the "what" and "how" of each of these. After that it's up to each individual to practice, practice, practice until he can foster interactions that flow.


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