One of the reasons for going into succession planning is to communicate and present future expectations. Each of us has a very different physical and emotional map of the world. We experience the physical world through our senses – what we see, hear, touch, taste, and smell. These physical discoveries outline the territory. The emotional world of values and beliefs provides the filter system that help create a map for getting through life on a daily basis

Succession planning follows the same pattern. While there may be a common territory, the map is anywhere from a little to a lot different for each of us. From a practical standpoint, it is a particularly useful exercise to understand what the other person’s map looks like. After all, it is easier to adjust your approach and communications style than it is to change another person’s point of view.

The meaning of what you communicate is in the response it generates. If (more likely, when) you run into resistance from others, it is often because you have not done a thorough job of establishing rapport – you have communicated from your perspective rather than from the other person’s. You respond to the map of the world in your head, and you ignore the one in his/hers. As a result, you often get responses that catch you off guard.

When another person’s response surprises you, irritates you, or just leaves you puzzled, you can follow the Native American proverb about walking a mile in another’s moccasins. To do that most effectively, follow these steps: 

  • Focus on what is going well in your life;
  • Knowing that you have quite a bit going for you, put on your “generosity” hat;
  • Ask yourself what could possibly be going on in this person’s mind that would warrant his or her behavior.

By doing this, you make it easier for you to be flexible and to reposition your comments, expectations, or desires so that others understand how they can benefit from what you want; and, more importantly, how they help achieve it.

Another way to be sure you and those important to your succession success are on the same page is to repeat the message. Do it often. Do it 365 days a year (366 in a leap year). Repeat it with the same fervor and intensity that you used the first time you verbalized your motivation and perspective. That is the only way the message will endure.

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