Are you doing the ‘dump and run’?

It’s a typical work day.  You rush from meeting to meeting. Send a few emails.  Have a conversation with a team member, and update them on things you think they need to know.  You then rush to your next meeting.

Sound familiar? 

This is classic ‘dump and run’ in action.  You have information in your head that you think someone needs to know.  Naturally, you want to share it with them.

SquirrelThe problem is when you’re rushing, it’s likely you’ll rush the conversation too.  You’ll say what matters to you, but have no time to hear the other person.

You feel better because you feel like you’ve communicated, but the other person feels bewildered, annoyed, frustrated and totally disengaged


George Bernard Shaw once said “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place”.

There are five levels of communication.  Dumping is at the bottom end of the scale, and adapting is the opposite end.  So what’s the difference?

Level 1 – DUMPING – It’s a one-way conversation.  You’re seeking an audience for your voice, and you are thinking (either subconsciously or consciously) “It’s all about me”.

Level 2 – DEBATING – Is a contest of words and ideas between the people talking.  Each person is seeking to ‘win’ the conversation or have the ‘last word’.

If you want to communicate successfully, these aren’t good options to pursue.  At a minimum you want to strive for level 3.

Level 3 – CLARIFYING – Is where the conversation starts to become more curious and less judgemental.  Both parties are starting to wonder and are seeking ideas and answers.  The conversation is much more about the “us”.

Even better is level 4.

Level 4 – SENSE MAKING – Is an open hearted conversation where both parties are pushing their thinking and conversation into new territory.  Each person is seeking to generate insight; knowing that the deeper the conversation, the richer the insight.

But if you want to take your communication to a whole new level, strive for adapting.

Level 5 – ADAPTING – Is the hardest of all levels to achieve.  It’s hard to admit you don’t have all the answers and that your knowledge and ideas are imperfect.  Being comfortable to admit you don’t know is a sign of leadership.  Conversations of this nature are about exploring possibilities and making decisions that are not just about the “me” (individual), or the “us” (those involved in the conversation), but about the “we” (ie broader group of stakeholders).

If you want to communicate more effectively – ditch the dumping and take the steps to adopt a more inclusive, adaptive approach.

Of course, this isn’t easy.  It takes skill and practice.  But if you want to be more influential and to step up and progress, it’s essential.

If you want to know more about how to influence you can read my new book – Step Up: How to build your influence at work, or enrol in the Step Up to Success program.

Remember, change happens. Make it work for you!


About the Author

Michelle Gibbings is known for making the complex, simple.  She helps people to think more deliberately, act with greater purpose and accelerate progress by understanding the art and science of human behaviour.  

Article source:


Powered by Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply

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