Not long ago, I was reading through a Smithsonian magazine, and came upon a particular article that captured my attention.
The story was about a man in Detroit who discovered a singing mouse. No one, including the folks at the University of Michigan, knew what to make of it. They studied the mouse, but couldn’t quite get to the bottom of it all.
That was way back in 1925. Fast forward to 2011, a biologist named Matina in North Carolina resurrected the mystery, wondering if singing mice were “calling all around her” and she just couldn’t hear them.
What she and her team found was extraordinary. The magazine reported that after figuring out how to listen to mice on their own terms, the researcher and her crew heard something new. They found evidence that, indeed, some of the mice they recorded could vocalize, or sing.“After figuring out how to listen to mice on their own terms, she heard something entirely new.”
Why am I writing about singing mice? Quite simply because we too are surrounded by “singing mice,” in the form of employees, colleagues and the communities in which we live. We might not be able to hear them, or we perhaps we are not listening for them!
These researchers in NC, found that when the conditions were right, and when the crew learned how to listen, the vocalizations of the mice were there all along.
In a class I was giving on strengths and leadership, the more the participants focused on their own strengths, the more they began to see the strengths of others. They started to hear their employees and colleagues singing. Guess how this affected the level of engagement of the newly found “singers,” and the business?How can you create the conditions to hear and understand the symphony around you? It might start with self awareness, listening on others’ terms, and with intention!