The Magic Communication Circle

Ohno Circle 2The magic manufacturing circle
Lean Manufacturing guru Taiichi Ohno used to draw a circle on shop floors and instruct managers to stand in it for hours. Ohno would return to check on what the manager had learned through observation. If a manager answered, “No problems here,” he was required to spend more hours in that circle until he saw patterns and wastes.

The magic kitchen circle
Recently, Bob and I sat on the kitchen floor playing with our cat (who is flourishing). In the process of cat play, I viewed the kitchen through a unique perspective; I noticed many things that I wanted to change.

The magic communication circle
When I work with people on their communication skills, I give them a unique vantage point to observe their communication habits and intercommunication dynamics. Few have the patience or willingness to simply observe. Most want to take action before they have grasped what scientists call the current condition.

This is one big barrier to effective communication skill. We are so action-oriented that we won’t take the time to deeply observe. It’s like wanting to pick fruit before it’s ripe.

Stand back today and imagine you’re “standing in a magic communication circle” observing your communication. If possible, refrain from taking action until you have significant new observations. 

Do you dare? Do you have the patience and willingness? If you do, your communication improvement efforts will be far more targeted and effective. 

Just like my kitchen improvements are thanks to a simple romp with a sweet, vibrant kitty.


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