Speaking with a client about an ongoing issue with his sales team, I brought up a particular concept. When he heard it, he loved it. He saw exactly how it applied to his situation. He also expressed amazement that he had never heard this before.
Except, he had. He’d heard about it numerous times. I know this for a fact since I’m the one from whom he’d heard it numerous times.
Now, lest you think my point is to boast about my great idea, the idea was hardly mine. In fact, the idea is so old there’s no one to even credit for it.
My point is that people can hear an idea but not actually grasp it because they’re not ready to. But, if we don’t continue to repeat it (not obnoxiously, of course, but appropriately, as part of an ongoing message) then even when they are ready they still won’t hear it, because we’ve stopped saying it.
Same for Teams and Organizations
As leaders, as teachers, as influencers, we can—we must—cast a vision. That’s the easy part. Then not only must we hold that vision but continue to communicate it.
Eventually, when they do get it, and ask you why you never told them that before, rather than calling them a dummy or yelling at them for not listening, simply smile and give them credit for grabbing on to it.
The same goes for when you’ve been telling them something forever and then they suddenly hear it from a third-party, and then report back to you with the brilliant piece of advice they just heard. Simply smile and give them credit for being open to new ideas.
Because a true leader doesn’t care who gets the credit. They just want the ideas to be received and their people to benefit.
And, the more you put the right message in front of them—whether directly from you or from a third-party authority—repetition is critical to effective leadership and influence.