I had introduced the concept of SayDos and the sweet paper metaphor. We don’t always know the type of sweet under the wrapping paper. At times we will need to unwrap the sweet paper to discover whether the sweet is toffee, double centred etc.
Words are like sweet paper and sometimes we need to unwrap the words to get to the true meaning. The words that allow you to reveal the meaning are:
“What do I need to say or do so you…?
I had demonstrated the use of this skill, divided the team into small practise groups and set the task. They had to find out how each other need to be appreciated. When necessary, they were to ask the SayDo question to flush out the specific behaviours that enables that person to feel appreciated.
I wandered through the room eavesdropping on the various practice groups. I overheard the team leader say she would feel appreciated if people were loyal to her. No one asked the SayDo question.
I commented that if I was a member of her team I wouldn’t know what I would need to do so she felt I was loyal to her. I asked:
“What would I need to say or do so you knew I was loyal to you?”
“Get the jobs done … and on time” she replied.
I paraphrased: “So, if I get all the jobs I am responsible for, done on time, you’d feel I was loyal to you”. “Absolutely” was the reply.
After a moments silence, one of the delegates said: “What if people are criticising you in the canteen?”.
“Don’t worry about that” she said “that doesn’t bother me”.
Imagine if I had not been there to ask the SayDo, this person would have given his meaning to the team leader’s words ‘Be loyal to me’. He would have stood up for her in the canteen, maybe at great personal cost, but still continue to miss his deadlines.
At the next team meeting the team leader says out of frustration: “I thought you were going to be loyal to me”.
He is likely to be thinking: ‘What have you got to do to please this woman.’
Don’t assume people hear what you say