14 September 2017

Knowing Each Other Through Conversations - Gui Gu Zi's Wisdom#4 Chapter 2 反应 Response

Partnering begins with choosing the right partner. Choosing starts with knowing. Knowing a person starts with conversations. Learning how to communicate is the foundation of all soft skills and the building of relationships. Know how to do it better with Gui Gu Zi's wisdom.
The Principle of Asking & Response

All things will response if probed correctly. You can discover its behavior characteristics, intentions, and values.

The Principle of Pure Objectivity - The Right Way to Listen

To be able to probe, observe and listen well, we must adhere to the principle of  Pure Objectivity. Gui Gu Zi uses the term 无形 WuXing, without any shape. There are some key attributes about WuXing:

  1.  Invincible or Undetectable - The person must not know your intentions else he may mislead you by giving you the answer you want to hear and disguised his true feelings. 
  2. An Opened Mind, Without preconceived ideas, biases, prejudices, and prejudgement. We must remove our colored lens so that we can see clearly else we may only see what we want to see and miss out on the most important things that we should have seen. Consider the failures of Nokia, Motorola, RIM, Microsoft who taught iPhone was a niche and temporary success. Consider the failures of many wrong diagnoses. 
  3. Never Give Your Opinions. Your objective is to understand the subject and not to persuade at this moment. We will cover persuasion in a later chapter. You are not important,  your subject is. Always remain neutral. You can rephrase what you heard to get the correct understanding. "Do you mean this ... from what you said ?" "Did I get you correctly? You want to ....".
  4. Non-fixed Pattern - Be flexible and change the ways to ask and probe. Come from different angles. Change your approach when the subject is trying out guess you. 
  5. Make the subject feels secure, calm, loved, and most important. While we are not to have or express our opinions, we can and must show love and care to get the subject to be calm and feel secure. Showing concerns and understanding is the first step to calm agitated emotions. Help them to express themselves. Anger and screaming come from lack of words to express one feeling and fearing others do not understand. Think about the crying baby.
Making Sense to Gain Understanding

Everyone has his own logical mind to make a decision and behave in a certain predictable way. Even the 'mad' people have their own logic. There was such a joke to illustrate this point. A patient was given a final test before he was discharged. The doctor projected a ladder image on the wall and asked the patient to climb the ladder. The patient refused. The doctor was pleased and want to declare the patient fit. Before the patient left, the doctor asked, "By the way, why didn't you climb the ladder?" The patient said, "I am not stupid. What if I climb halfway and you switch the light off and then I will fall down. "

As we converse we want to slowly build up a model of the person thinking patterns and logics. Gui Gu Zi tells us the following points:

Study the past and try to explain the present and then predict the future. If our model built from the past could not explain the present, it surely also could not be used to predict the future. As stated in earlier post, management is about prediction. Even if it can explain the present, we still have to make sure that the environmental factors do not change so that the future can be predicted with some confidence. 

To always reflect, rethink, re-validate our thinking is the only to make sure our model is applicable. Of course, we don't have to start from scratch all the time. We can learn from the sages, experts, and people who have gone before us. So Gui Gu Zi admonishes us to listen to the advice of the wise sages.

Knowing Others Like Self
From words that we heard we have to figure the meaning. What is not said, or what is expressed in a certain way, tell us much about the intention and meaning as well. If you fail to get a coherent meaning, we are to ask again, in a different way, to confirm the understanding. Knowing our own thinking pattern, our prejudices and blind spots, help us to understand others. From their answers, we can also gain an understanding of ourselves. Others can see our weaknesses very clearly. With a better understanding of ourselves, we get to understand others better too. What is the ideal state of truly knowing another person? Gui Gu Zi uses the metaphor of a shadow. If you become his shadow, then you truly know him.

Validating the Saying with Observed Behaviors
What we hear are words. The words must be validated with the behaviors. We use a net to catch an animal. We should also use a net of observations and probes to understand a person. A net must cover a wide area. Similarly with people. The network of a person reveals much about the person. Finding out what he does in various situations also shed light about him. If possible, we can construct some tests to know a person better. See for example ...Strategic HR Management of Ancient Chinese and The Principles for Greatness: #1 Know Others & Self.

Conducting True or Fierce Conversations:
There are many conversations that are like cocktail party weather talks. We gain very little from such superficial talks. Relationship buildings need true conversations from the hearts. At times, those conversations could be painful or even fierce. Here are two good books to recommend.

Fierce Conversations & Fierce Leadership - Books - Fierce Inc.

Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most: Douglas ...

Getting to know people and building your network of trustworthy and wise people will be your paths to great success.

Lim Liat (c) 15 Sep 2017

Prev: The Universal Principle of “Open & Close” to Mastering the World - GuiGuZi's Wisdom#3 Chapter 1 捭阖 
Next:Selecting & Partnering for Long-Term Success - Gui Gu Zi's Wisdom#5 C3 内揵 Inner Bonding 

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