April 12, 2014

Re-Make Patterns, Not People


describe the imageThe everyday experiences we have on the job are just a reflection of the ways we interact with others. Let’s call these our “habits of communication.”

When our habits of communication reflect our values and aspirations, we usually feel pretty good about our exchanges with others. Over time, this alignment helps us enjoy the world of work and the ways that we positively connect and collaborate with others produce good results.

Learn how to take a communication perspective here.

However, when we develop unwanted habits of communication with people, those uncomfortable and challenging moments can erode our joy, cause us to disengage, and block our best work. Over time these unwanted patterns of interaction can seem “set in stone” but we can change them into something better.

“Insight to Action”

The key to changing our unwanted experiences in the world of work can be distilled into four words: re-make patterns, not people. This means we don’t have to worry about trying to change all of those so-called “difficult people.” Instead, we can look past the personalities and get down to the actual patterns of communication where lasting change begins and ends.

Even if you tried, spending time and energy trying to change people never works anyway (relationship with a significant other anyone?). Trying to change other people is an endless pursuit of the unattainable.

Read more about what makes a pattern of communication here.

The minute we start focusing on “personalities,” we lose the objective curiosity that allows us to stay out of the zone of judgment. Inside the judgment zone we are more likely to blame others for the unwanted experiences and outcomes we get, rather than focusing on the responses we contribute as the pattern gets made. Putting this insight into action requires us to stay flexible and open (i.e. “Isn’t it interesting how differently we see this issue…” – rather than the immovable – “I wish you would just see things my way…”


Rather than doing a bunch of new things, this suggested Nav-Practice is more about shaping your mindset. For the next three days, make note cards with the following statements, and review them each day to if the concept of “re-making patterns, not people” begins to stick:

  • Those headaches at work that we experience working with others…we can get rid of them.
  • One reason they stick around is because they’re connected to deeper issues that have grown roots.
  • Behind every communication breakdown, difficult experience with a colleague there are “patterns” that actually made them:
    • Patterns are made by the habitual ways we interact with others.
    • If we change the habits, we can remake those headache-causing experiences into something better.

Work Got You Turned Around? Ask Us!

Let us know exactly where you need support navigating your hidden challenges of work. You can request a Nav-Map here and we will get back to you shortly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *