“The best way to spread an idea is to recreate in someone else’s mind the conditions that created it in yours in the first place” – Tamsen Webster.
Tamsen Webster – the “Idea whisperer” – takes us on a thrilling ride of how to create permanent change in others by utilizing the story of an idea at the 2019 EPIC Community.
Webster poses the question that we likely all struggle with, “How can we get others to take a particular action?” I found this compelling as the fundamental goal of a leader is to get people to take action – so how can you effectively do this?
We all know this too well when you ask a child to do something, “eat your vegetables” and their immediate response is, “no!”. I mean as a grown-ass adult I still struggle with this. Whenever anyone directly tells me what to do, I have a physiological reaction, where I cannot oblige to what they want me to do…. Some might call this stubbornness haha.
Webster explains this as a psychological reactant, a cognitive trap that we all fall into based on childhood experiences. If we lead with the thing we want them to do, we’ll most likely get a no.
Instead, Webster shares a critical insight that, what we see, drives what we do.
So if we can change what they see, we can change what they do.
She demonstrates how we can’t make people change, but we can create the condition for change. To do this we must build the story of your idea, that can provide a narrative and lead them to where you want.
Webster shares the five critical elements of building out the “Red Thread” of your idea.
I recently utilized Webster’s framework for a 10-minute Keynote address at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Ottawa 10th Annual Fundraising Breakfast, where our goal was to raise $500,000.
1) The Goal: all great stories start with a quest. It is the question that needs answering. Start with their language, what is their goal. What does your client want to accomplish?
2) The Problem: the obstacle in the way of your client’s journey. This is usually a perspective problem. This is also where you introduce an additional pain that they didn’t even know they had – perhaps a pair of concepts that sit at the edge of each other. You want to make the problem impossible to ignore.
3) The Truth: a fact that you cannot unhear. A universal truth that your client fundamentally agrees on attached to the new idea you’re presenting.
4) The Change: this is the change, the new behaviour or action that one needs to take to achieve get past the above problem, and achieve the new truth.
5) The Action: this is usually your call to action, the answer to the question “How do I do it?”
Webster graciously offers a workshop and video on how to best utilize this on her website: tamsenwebster.com
What is so vital to understand is that as leaders ultimately our one objective is to get people to rise to the occasion and take action. So we must learn about the conditions we have to create to get people to take action and make a permanent change. Otherwise, we’re stuck spinning our wheels repeating the same demands and getting no results.
What idea are you going to now put into story form utilizing the Red Thread?