It might be with a colleague, a family member or a neighbour.  It feels like you are not on the same page. And that feels like a problem.  So now what?

Let’s first own what we are really saying: “I want them to be on my page”.

If we truly want to get on the same page, the first shift we need to make is to shift away from “my page has the answers and the only answers” and … “could we please just get over here?  Now!”  Only when we come from the assumption that we each have valuable wisdom to add, is it possible to get truly on the same page.

You may be thinking: “Their wisdom?!!  Trust me, they are not wise.  At least not about this!

”We are not talking about that kind of beautiful wisdom that has us all pause in awe; but the more practical, everyday kind.  The Oxford Dictionary defines wisdom as: “the soundness of an action or decision with regard to the application of experience, knowledge, and good judgment.”

When our colleague is being hyper critical of an approach that we think is brilliant, we may not be aware of the two times that approach failed at their previous workplace and the dire consequences it created.  Or the fact that it will generate an increase in work for them that could be better handled another way.  Or that they are not raising these points out of a belief built from our past behaviours that we will read negative motives into what they are saying.

When our child disregards our repetitive requests for completion of homework, we may not be aware that this is their strategy to avoid the shame and fear that is interfering with their ability to focus.  Or that their other strategy is to do homework when we are not around to criticize their efforts.  Or that they have been promising themselves to get better; but can’t seem to do it, in the same way that many of us can’t seem to stick to that diet, or exercise or other New Year’s Resolution.  (And by-the-way, none of us ever succeeded because someone reminded us again and again that we should.  Or gave us yet another piece of information about healthy diets or exercise.)  So now, their self-esteem is low and their strategy to preserve their self-esteem is to find someone besides themselves to blame.  And, right now, those someone(s) are you and their teachers.

We don’t know what we don’t know.  Others have wisdom that we are not seeing.  And this lies at the heart of our different pages.

With the information available to us, our solution makes sense and theirs does not.

Our response is to tell them what they don’t know.  Multiple times.  Yet, unless we first learn what we don’t know, all the things we tell them will continue to yield limited effect because it is not helping with their concerns.

And unless we presume that there is wisdom to their logic, they won’t believe it is worth their while – or wise – to tell us.

And until then, we can’t get on the same page.

What if our first question – out loud or to ourselves – was a Magic Question?  What if that question could improve how we listened, improve how safe others feel to share real answers with us, increase what we learn and help us all get on the same page?

What if we asked: “What am I missing that would have your belief or behaviour make sense … or even be wise?”

And what if, as a result, we got to regularly feel a transformational shift in what it is to be on the same page?

What might become possible for you and your important teams?"