See What Condition Your Condition Is In

By Nedra Chandler, 1-min read, 3 min listen to the tune see link below*

What condition is your condition in right here, right now?

Picture slumped shoulders, crossed arms, avoidant or flat facial expression, defended, closed.

Now envision what one leader I know calls her athletic stance. An athletic stance can be any size or physical strength, yet the shape gives a sense of being present, ready, aware, alert-yet-at-some ease at the same time. Open.

Now just look at you. How are you currently…arranged?

I am more and more frequently paying attention to the very shape of my own body, and my clients’ bodies.

I want to convince you this is useful, super relevant data to notice about yourself and others.

What if you run a little experiment for yourself: what happens when you tune into this information on purpose, even just a little more often? What tangible, visible effects follow?

Earlier this year, I facilitated an off-site retreat for a government agency senior management team. As they sat together, they confirmed the desired outcomes they had set for their time together.

I asked, “is there anything you need to count on from each other in order to accomplish these things together?”

(there was a longer-than-usual thoughtful pause here…)

“be open,” said one, “stay open.”

Genuine nodding of all heads and a brief conversation followed to interpret together what that might look like, sound like, feel like in action.

It turns out that to them, ‘stay open’  had to do with cultivating awareness of internal and external states on purpose, more deliberately staying receptive to possibilities a bit longer than might otherwise be typical for them. Sort of a:

“we don’t know exactly where this is going next…let’s create the best possible conditions for ourselves so that we can create the best possible outcomes, together.”

This team’s encouragement to each other was toward that. Stay open, they said.

To repeat, I’m dropping in to see what condition my condition is in, and I’m checking out the shape of my client bodies and teams at the same time. By that I mean my stance, their stance — individual and collective group shape.

Why? Because whether you are guiding from the side, or actively participating, or both/and at the same time, you get immediately-useable data. This information helps you make the most skillful choices you can about how to contribute, how best to engage, moment to moment in service to your purpose.

In the fine grain here, consider the connections you might notice between the shape you or someone else takes and how the verbal content of what they say out loud might come across to you.

For example, imagine a speaker in front of you who has her arms relaxed at her sides, maybe palms open toward you, asking,

“I want to hear what you think about this policy change.”

Now change her stance in your mind’s eye. She has her fists above her head, high in the air in the victorious ‘V” shape and feet planted apart — apparently a version of the universal, across-cultures power pose — and she’s still saying the same thing,

“I want to hear what you think about this policy change.”

Hmmmmm. Are the impacts of these two scenarios significantly different in your view? Or just a little? Or not much if any?

There is no ‘right’ answer here, yet certainly something to consider in your day-to-day leadership of you and your co-conspirators…

*If you can spare a few extra minutes for fun, listen to Kenny Rogers sing Just Dropped In to See the Condition My Condition Is In (1972), singing “Yeah, yeah, oh yeah…” right HERE exactly 46 years ago today.

A bit about me: writer, Montanan, mediator and development coach for government leaders & teams. Find me and my long-time work mates at Triangle Associates and please sign up to receive my monthly posts in your inbox by typing in your email address here.

We help people listen and talk with each other with purpose and clarity. We find out what people are ready for and design custom collaborative or other opportunities. We serve as guides on the side to help participants find common ground and take action where they choose. 

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