driving for change: on being the voice in someone's head

the other day i was telling my friend (“l”) about a blog post abe lateiner wrote earlier this year called the line of dismissal and i shared a thought in the convo that i figured i’d write up.

the purpose of abe’s post is to address the issue of wanting to drive change, but doing it in such a way as to not be dismissed. it’s easy for change agents in their zeal for change to actually marginalize themselves. this often happens by yelling (metaphorically speaking) so loudly or disruptively that the people who were listening to you stop listening. sometimes people are annoyed at the repetitiveness, or sometimes it’s that a nerve is struck and people want not to deal with it (work avoidance) or any number of other reasons.

abe’s piece is the beginning of a series wherein he is thinking through how to be just loud enough in a space that change happens, but not so loud that you are removed from the space (thereby rendering your voice completely ineffective).

in my convo with l, we were talking about how once someone said to her “the whole time i was on stage all i could think was ‘dammit, is l going to yell at me about this?’”. in my mind, that is one of the best ways to drive change in a space. clearly that person really respects what l has to say. so much so that they could literally hear l’s voice in their head.

in the mentorship relationships i’ve had this has happened as well. whether it was rashad’s voice in my head or my voice in the heads of some of my boys, i think this is definitely a good thing. i can even remember times where people have said things to me like “i really wish i just had a little you as one of those shoulder people that just whispers in my ear what to do or how to think at different times.”

i might even go so far as to say it’s a good metric by which to measure your effectiveness if creating change is your goal. how well can people on your team share your thinking even when you’re not there? actually, now that i write it out, i’m almost positive i’ve seen that as a goal in a leadership assessment tool.

writing spell-check, research, link-finding, & formatting
11:17 3:00