The concept of “The Table” in your professional life and your personal life may be new for you, but it is not new in many countries, and here in the arena I work with on the John Maxwell Team. Any table is a place of “gathering” people together to communicate, share food, drinks, ideas, love, frustration, sorrow, friendship, business deal, and any other emotion you can think up.
The United Nations had, for a time a real problem with the shape of the table, as did many nations signing end of war agreements. What does the shape of the table have to do with its purpose? Well, that is an issue of ego. When people come to the table to do anything with friends or advisories, all egos must be left outside the room, otherwise, the true purpose of the meeting is lost before anyone sits down.
Let’s explore “The Table” for a moment here and identify the tables in your life. What happens when we take a seat at any one of these tables? Who is sitting at the table with you? So many questions and yet many of us just sit down with no forethought of where we are sitting or in the presence of whom, or what the table we are at if for or the outcome sought there.
- Business Meal Table
- Celebration Table
- Community Table
- Company Board Table
- Faith Table
- Family Meal Table
- Leadership Table
- Non-Profit Table
- Transformation Round Table
- What other tables can you think of?
The invitation to sit at any table is a momentous event. If you have potential, you are being given a chance to rise up and be seen, be developed, and be heard. The right people at the right table will create the dynamic of the table where they are seated. The table is about being in “proximity” of other leaders.
No organization will succeed with out its employees or members behind it.
Just because individuals, constituents, businesses, and organizations belong to the table or donate to the table in money and services does not mean they have 100% alignment with the table’s values, vision, mission, or goals.
How A Table Works
Before the participants are invited to sit at any table, the expectations must be set first.
- Attendees are, to be honest
- Be willing to engage in discussion
- Listen more than they talk
- Be encouraging
- All questions are welcome there is no wrong or dumb question
- Everyone is valued at the table
- The purpose is application not information
- Every person is accountable who sits at the table.
- Attendees must be willing to “Apply” what they learn and observe
- Attendees must be willing to “Change” if a change is needed in their life
- Attendees must be willing to “Teach” what they learn at the table
Leadership is CAUGHT more than it is TAUGHT!
What Opens the Door at the Table?
Those who are sitting at any table, need to recognize that every table is what is called “A High Touch Table.” Do you have any idea what this means? No, we are not talking about hugs, pats on the back, or high fives; we talking about something even more valuable.
High Touch refers to touching a person’s heart before you ask for their hand to help. This is a huge learning point. Just because you are the head of something, doesn’t mean the people around you will immediately buy into you, your leadership, your ideas, vision, or goals. The commit to you when they feel understood. Here are some points that will open the doors of the hearts of the people around your table.
- Value every person at the table
- Tell them you need them to succeed
- Show them you have a teachable mindset/spirit
- Listen more than you talk
- Listen first then ask the question
- Seek to know and understand their perspective and life experience
- Be generous with crediting others where it is due
- Express gratitude to those who help you
- Replace ME with WE!
What Kills the Table Experience?
You might say everything listed above in the negative will KILL the table experience – and you would be right. The number 1 [one] killer of any table experience is ASSUMPTIONS! If you need further explanation on this read, Simon Sinek’s book “Start with WHY!” Do not be one of those leaders who believes they know something about everything, because no one knows everything. It is impossible. Everyday new things disprove old ways of thinking. How long have you believed the world is round, or that space travel is possible, or that an unseen microscopic germ can cause a global pandemic?
What kind of Attitude is needed at the table?
One of my mentors, John Maxwell, said these are the attitudes that are needed at any table. These are from John’s book: “A Leader’s Greatest Return.”
- Learn Perspective Thinking
- Practice Perspective Seeking
- Engage in Perspective Coordinating
- Always Ask Questions
You see, if we come to the table thinking we know all the answers, the table is doomed from the start. No two of us have walked the same road, had the same experiences, or had the same opportunities in life and business or met the same people.
This is the richness which is “UNKNOWN” at the table, you sit at until you begin to probe.
I’d like to hear from you!
Janice Bastani Coaching offers customized solutions for you and your team to resource and equips you to be a “Great Leader.” When you are ready, we are here to help, send an email to begin the process: email@example.com .
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