Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon

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Seeing all the SAME cars

It’s a term that doesn’t get used often, although we all talk about it quite often. You know someone who bought a car or was thinking of buying that car. Then all of a sudden, they see the same car all around them and wonder what happened? That’s Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, and it sometimes gets termed as a syndrome.

We, here at Decker, have to fess up to causing this syndrome among hundreds of people we coach and train – specifically around communication. When we share the Behaviors of Trust, what to do with eye communication or how to avoid fillers of ‘um’ or ‘uh’, our participants realize – almost like a light bulb that goes off – that two of their team members do that! And when they leave our programs or coaching sessions, they notice it even more!

One of the tips we share is, don’t say ‘good question’ as part of your answer during a Q&A session. We’ve been told by past participants, “You ruined me, it’s so annoying when people do that!” The recent Senate Banking Committee interviews reminded me of this. When John Stumpf addressed Wells Fargo’s fraud charges, he did it more than a dozen times.

Many of us live in a bubble where we don’t recognize the poor communication habits around us. Once you become aware of what they are, you realize they’ve most likely seeped throughout your organization. One of the most gratifying opportunities is when we get to work with great leaders who want to turn their teams into great communicators. They see the impact on culture, NPS, engagement, sales and overall ability to lead others. If you don’t have the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon happening to you – you should want it! It will only make you better.

Now as you get in your car today, notice how many other people have your same car!

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One comment on “Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon

  1. Overusing the word “listen”-most often by politicians, is another irritating way to punctuate a thought, as well as ending a sentence with a proposition as in “Where are you at?”