Funnels, Megaphones, and Gratitude

I “just happened” to hear back from a very grateful Ms. M, and from Ms. M’s very grateful principal, Monday afternoon.  Yes, please, thank you, said Ms. M; her principal was equally appreciative and had good news about the two retired teachers, one of whom I know quite well, who will take turns as “The Sub” in Ms. M’s classes until she’s able to return.  Ms. M briefly described what her classes usually do at the beginning of the year, and it sounds like the Tres Columnae Project materials will be an excellent fit.  The One Remaining Colleague and I have some work to do to get things ready, but it will be much more enjoyable work than I had feared.

Gratitude is a powerful thing!  Ms. M’s gratitude, and her principal’s gratitude, gave me energy for what might otherwise have seemed like an onerous, even impossible task.   The gratitude and kindness of folks who work at the Little Restaurant where I stopped for lunch yesterday?  That’s a historic pattern, and it’s one of the reasons I eat there when I’m in That Part of Town.  Gratitude from somebody else, whom I “just happened” to be able to help with something yesterday afternoon, and the gratitude I felt and expressed when somebody else helped me … it makes a real difference on both the individual and organizational levels.

Thanks to some excellent comments on the Google+ thread about yesterday’s blog post, I realized that there’s a lot more to say about funnels and megaphones this week … and when I realized that, I felt gratitude toward George, Don, and Brendan for their thoughtful comments.  And then, when I got up this morning, I realized something … something I’ve certainly realized before, but it struck me again today.  Gratitude, when it’s sincere, makes those megaphones and funnels more effective.  But when organizations (and people!) are under stress, as so many are, one of the first things to go is gratitude.  Sadly, that lack of gratitude leads to greater and greater stress, a downward spiral of anger and despair, poor service and bad responses, yelling, labeling, and a host of other pains and problems.

Can you turn that around with something simple … something as simple as sincere gratitude?

I have an angry friend who tends to post ugly, half-true things about “The Liberals” on Facebook, and another angry friend who posts equally ugly, half-true things about “The Conservatives.”  Both, I think, are angry because That Other Group dares to see things differently, refuses to submit to “superior wisdom” or “the facts.”  They don’t know each other, but if they did, they might be surprised by how much they have in common …and if they really got to know each other, came to value each other as friends despite their real differences of opinion, I wonder if the gratitude might break down some of the ugly labels and categories they both use, almost automatically, when they each refer to That Other Group.  As it is, both sit at the bottom of a very effective social funnel, comfortably inside a social megaphone that amplifies their own group’s message, but effectively screens out any alternatives.

That’s one of the dangers of a funnel or a megaphone, as George pointed out:

Hm: At the center, the leader or founder articulates the organization’s why, and as the megaphone gets larger…

So the closer you are to the center, the louder things are going to get over time, and the harder it will be to hear other messages. Hm.

And then Brendan had a related insight:

Also, it’s interesting to think about the sales funnel from a broader perspective than a single company. For example, looking at an entire new industry, or a population in a public health campaign.

There might be many “sellers” or providers, but the goal on a big picture level is for that thousand people to learn about their options and find their way to a suitable one… even if a particular provider might end up with a handful of clients/customers.

Promoting the overall product or industry or learning objective to a large population might therefore have benefits for all (or most.)

That gets to the question of megaphones or other mass broadcast approaches, vs. other, more distributed methods.

I’m still thinking about how all these threads connect; I’ll be thinking as I drive to “deliver” that professional-development session today, and as the One Remaining Colleague and I do our “real” task of helping Ms. M.  But I’m beginning to see all kinds of connections, all kinds of important things to say about funnels and megaphones, about distortions and sorting, about the leaks in the sales funnel and the buzzing in the megaphone.

For that, and for so many things, I’m grateful … grateful for the joyful learning community that has formed around these posts and for the insights we bring to each other.

I wonder what other new insights await us all today!

Published in: on August 19, 2014 at 10:53 am  Leave a Comment  

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