Kasha's Notes: April 7, 2005
"One of my problems is that I internalize everything. I can't express anger; I grow a tumor instead." Woody Alan
Most of the material for this Gathering was gleaned from the books: Crucial Conversations and Crucial Confrontations
Where in your life are you experiencing situations that tend to involve (or avoid) conversations that include the following:
- high emotional content
- high impact on the quality of your life
- high-stakes attached to outcome (it appears that the result of a conversation will be a gain or loss of something of value)
- includes disagreement and/or disappointment (broken promises, missed deadlines, pattern behaviors)
NOTE: The situations often arise spontaneously, there is a feeling of a lot of pressure, and there is no quick good answer. At other times, however, we have the opportunity to contemplate the situation before beginning conversation.
What fears do you have that cause you to avoid crucial confrontations?
- It will just make things worse
- I will get hurt
- I might lose my job
- I might not get the promotion I want
- I might make the other person angry
- We'll get into an endless cycle
- I won't be able to do it right
- Feeling isolated: you see a problem but theorize you are the only one who sees it or cares or maybe you are just not seeing things correctly
- I will lose face
- This person will despise me
- I want to be seen as nice [nice, adjective, A pleasant, Non-confrontational attitude that eventually kills you]
- I will be seen as a nag or a whiner
- The other person will be devastated
- The other person has abused me in the past
What other excuses do you use avoid a crucial confrontations?
- I'm too busy
- It really doesn't matter
- I won't be able to make a difference
- It is not my job
- I don't have that much influence, I won't be able to make difference
- I don't think we can change
- Our relationship is based solely on problems
- That doesn't fit with our culture
- Borderline situations (not bad enough to throw it out, but not good enough to eat -- to use another food analogy)
- The situation is based on hearsay
- The other person will never engage in conversation
Behind every national disaster, organizational failure, and family breakdown you find the same root cause. People are staring into the face of a crucial confrontation, and they're not sure what to say. When problems arise, in the worst environments people will withdrawn into an agonizing silence. In average environments, people will say something but only to the authorities. In the best environments, people will hold a crucial confrontation face-to-face and in the moment and they will hold it well. Profitability, productivity, and morale are all improved. This is true in home as well as business. [paraphrased from books: Crucial Conversations and Crucial Confrontations ]
Quote: "Why do we ever set aside pressing problems hoping that somehow get better? It's like finding a tub of rancid cottage cheese in the fridge, setting it on the kitchen counter for a couple days, and then thinking: I wonder if it'll taste any better now?"
Some terminology and/or concepts it will help us to know from the start:
Filters and Justifications
• Our perception of the world around us causes us to choose a figure and the rest becomes background. We usually make the figure be the problems we are currently facing and everything else goes right in the background. This causes us to be problem-focused rather than Outcome focused. See Robert Fritz books for great understanding of this.
•Filter: look for just the facts that justify our favorite stories. We tend to set our filters for things that will bring about justification of belief systems, our behavior, our position, our goals, our proposals, our previous choices, our fears
• When we are highly invested in the outcome of a communication, it makes it very difficult to dialogue (the free flow of meaning between two or more individuals). Rather than a free flow, we restrict the flow to things that we feel will bring about the outcome we desire. However, when we are exposed to more accurate and relevant information, we make better choices that actually get us closer to what we want.
In/Out of the Box (Leadership and Self-Deception)
• In the Box: Seeing people as objects: competitors, allies, or unimportant
• Out of the Box: Seeing people as human beings with needs, desires, fears, cares just like you see yourself.
Think CPR: content, pattern, relationship. Content is what just happened, a single event, the here and now. Pattern is repeated behavior over time. Relationship concerns are far bigger than either content or pattern: the issue is not that other people have disappointed you repeatedly, it is that the string of disappointments has caused you to lose trust in them (you doubt their competency, you don't respect or trust their promises, and this is affecting the way you treat one another). Problems are almost never contained in the behavior of the offender; they're much more likely to be contained in what happens afterward--the problem lies in the consequences. When you want to clarify the issue you need to confront, stop and ask yourself what the consequences of a problem are to you, to the relationship, to the task, to other stakeholders.
BODY RESPONSE TO CONFLICT SIGNALS
When we find ourselves in a situation that has just become "crucial", interesting things happen in our bodies.
• Our adrenal glands release ALERT! ALERT! adrenalin
• Blood rushes to our external limbs and vital organs
• That blood is partly supplied by our higher-functioning brain parts
• Our focus moves to external things; especially things that reinforce our fear that we are not safe
• Focus is removed from our inner senses
So, h ere you are real-time multitasking in an intricate social situation with a monkey brain that's preparing for fight or flight. It is time to take a deep breath, to calm your body, and let the blood flow back to your brain to engage your higher-functioning brain parts.
At this time, we usually act in ways that are destructive, defeating, damaging. Consider this cycle: I want, I ask, I am refused, I clam-up, eventually I explode, things get worse. The more you move to silence (clam up) and/or violence (explode), the less your loved one wants to be around you, or the less likely you'll be considered for promotion, or whatever--the more you become upset and the spiral continues. Your behavior is now actually creating the very thing you didn't want in the first place. You are caught in an unhealthy, self-defeating cycle.
One wonderful thing about developing your crucial communication skills, is that the same set of skills work in every domain (job, friends, home, community, etc.)
Self , Safety, Stories, Skills: These are categories described below that you need to learn to keep rotating through your immediate focus and track during the crucial conversation/confrontation.
• Take responsibility for your own behavior and for creating a safe environment.
• Self-control: take steps to calm your body, move to realization this is an intricate social situation, not a jungle-danger situation.
• Self-awareness: know what you really want at the deepest level.
• Behavior: know your tendencies (your "conduct under stress") and be aware of your current behavior (is it matching how you'd behave if you really wanted what you say you want?).
Take Responsibility: People who are best at dialogue realize that more often than not they do something to contribute to the problems they are experiencing. Taking this simple fact and turning it into the principle: "work on me first", they realize that not only are they likely to benefit by improving their own approach, but also that they are the only person they can work on anyway. There's a certain irony here: people who believe they need to start with themselves do just that and, as they work on themselves, they become the most skilled at dialogue. So, it's the most talented, not the least talented, who are continually trying to improve their dialogue skills. (paraphrased from Crucial books)
Self-control: Take charge of your body by deliberately calming it. You can do this by asking it "what do I *really* want?". Involving your higher-functioning brain parts, you will affect your entire physiology. As you introduce complex and abstract questions to your mind, the problem-solving part of your brain recognizes that you are now dealing with intricate social issues and not physical threats.
Knowing What You Really Want: Have you looked at what you think you want and made sure it is your deepest desire? Do you know what you want for yourself, for others, and for the relationship? Do you really want to learn, rather than win? Can getting all relevant information and meaning into the shared pool be your top goal? Can finding a solution that is best for all be your strongest desire?
Behavior: Check to see if your behavior matches how you would behave if you really wanted what you say you want: "I want people to freely and openly talk about what it'll take to cut costs." Know your own negative behavioral tendencies when under stress and watch for them to arise. Ask yourself: What is my behavior telling me about what my motives are?
• Be aware of current safety level. If not at an adequately safe level: Step out of topic, fix safety, step back in.
• In/Out of box
• Fear: Nothing kills free flow of meaning like fear
• Fight or Flight; Silence or Violence; that type of behavior is sign of violated safety
• Tools: apologize, clarify, find mutual purpose, create mutual respect, get permission, speak in private
• Dialogue killers: wanting to win or be right, seeking revenge, hoping to remain safe, falling for the sucker's choice
• Safety is NOT avoiding truth or watering it down: this strategy avoids the real problem and it never gets fixed -- this is not creating safety
• Blend three ingredients: confidence, humility, and skill
Safety Level: When it comes to risky, controversial, and emotional conversations, skilled people find a way to get all relevant information from themselves and others out into the open. Do your best to make it safe for everyone to add their meaning to the shared pool--even ideas that at first glance appear controversial, wrong, or at odds with your own beliefs. You are simply doing your best to ensure that all ideas find their way into the open. As everyone is exposed to more accurate and relevant information, they will make better choices. If Safety is not at an adequate level: Step out of topic, fix safety, step back in.
In/Out Of the Box: Think about a time you received some truthful and not-easy-to-take feedback and yet you felt grateful for the conversation. What were the conditions then? [You knew the person truly wanted the best for you, your goals, and objectives. You knew they were not out to win, make you smaller than them, etc. There was mutual trust and respect.]
Fear: Look for signs that the conversation is starting to turn crucial. People who are gifted at dialogue keep a constant vigil on safety. They pay attention to the content and they watch for signs that people are becoming afraid. Dialogue calls for the free flow of meaning. Nothing kills the flow of meaning like fear. When there is fear that people aren't buying into your ideas, you start pushing too hard. When there is fear that you may be harmed in some way, you start withdrawing and hiding. On the other hand, if you don't fear that you are being attacked or humiliated, you yourself can hear almost anything and not become defensive. If you make it safe enough, you can talk about almost anything and people will listen. Both these reactions--to fight and to take flight--are motivated by the same emotions: fear. These reactions (fight/flight) lead to the behaviors of violence/silence.
• Purposefully withholding information from the shared pool of meaning. These behaviors also often cause the other person to withhold information.
• When you move into silence, your goal has shifted to either compelling others to do what you want or protecting yourself from being put in an uncomfortable place or being harmed in some way
• What are ways of moving into silence: Salute and Stay Mute; silent treatment, freeze 'em out, ice-olation, cold shoulder; hints, sarcasm, innuendo, looks of disgust are used to make our points instead of clear, compassionate words.
• Three most common categories: masking, avoiding, withdrawing -- read page 52/53
• The favorite methods for tricking ourselves into remaining silent are to downplay the cost of not speaking up (e.g., looking exclusively at what's happening to us now rather than the total effect over time) and to exaggerate the cost of expressing our views.
• Consequences:Appears as if you give tacit approval; others may think you're playing favorites because you never let them get away with that kind of thing; when the other person keeps repeating the offense you see the new offense as evidence that your story about his or her motives is correct (rather than because of your failure to confront it); we under-estimate the severity of the existing circumstances because we become inured to the consequences we're suffering; we can't see our own bad behavior (body language) while we are maintaining silence.
• Not knowing how to start or stay in dialogue, sometimes we rely on violence: anything from subtle manipulation to verbal (or even physical) attacks.
• When you move into violence, your goal has shifted to either compelling others to do what you want or to protecting yourself
• What are ways of moving into violence: cutting others off, interrupting; force; dismissiveness; belittling, threatening; overstating facts, only sharing those facts that backup your position; we indicate we know everything, hoping people will believe our arguments; we discredit others, hoping people won't believe their arguments; borrow power from the boss; hit people with biased monologues
• Three most common categories: controlling, labeling, attacking -- page 54
• Consequences: You become hypocritical, abusive, and clinically stupid. You turn the spotlight on to your own behavior rather than on to resolving the issues. Abusive methods become honored as heroic, as a model or example. Impact on relationships:
• Force kills relationships. Every time we decide to use power to influence others, we damage the relationship. We move from enjoying a healthy partnership based on trust and mutual respect to establishing a police state that requires constant monitoring. Every time we compel people to bend to our will, it creates a desolate and lonely work environment. Gone is mutual respect and the camaraderie it engenders. Gone are the simple pleasantries associated with rubbing shoulders with friends and colleagues who admire and pull for each other. Gone is the sense we're laboring together to overcome common barriers. We move from respected partner to feared enforcer. People don't ever deserve to be abused physically or emotionally. It is not "good" for them. Yes, people should be held accountable. But it is never good to abuse, insult, or threaten others. Force motivates resistance. When people produce solely out of fear, once the fear is removed, so is the motivation to continue to follow orders.
• Apologize when appropriate: when your behavior has given someone clear cause to doubt your respect or commitment to mutual purpose, your conversation will end up in silly game-playing and frustrating misunderstandings until you offer a sincere apology
• Clarify: in the case of misinterpretation of either your purpose or your intent, say what it is you didn't mean, clarify your real purpose/respect, and, if appropriate, offer ideas that will support their goals. You provide context and proportion. Clarifying is not apologizing. "I don't want you to have to put up with things the way they are. I don't want a solution with you that isn't great for both of us. I do want to find a way to have us both feel close, appreciated, and loved."
• Find mutual purpose: when others can tell that you are working toward a common outcome in the conversation, and that you care about their goals, interests, and values and vice versa, you'll both feel you have a good reason and a healthy climate for talking.
• Find mutual respect: when people perceive that others don't respect them, the conversation immediately becomes unsafe and dialogue comes to a screeching halt; if you take respect away, it's all people can think about (like air); the instant people perceive disrespect in a conversation, the interaction is no longer about the original purpose--rather it is about defending dignity. We may need to find a way to respect by honoring and regarding another person's basic humanity, by recognizing we all have weaknesses. "Help me forgive those who sin differently than I." When we do this, we feel a kinship, a sense of mutuality between ourselves and even the thorniest of people. It is the sense of kinship and connection to others that motivates us to enter tough conversations, and it eventually enables us to stay in dialogue with virtually anyone.
• Get permission
• Speak in private and keep confidences
Confidence, humility, and skill: Have the confidence to say what needs to be said to the person who needs to hear it. Confidence that you are opinions deserve to be placed in the pool of meaning. Confidence that you can speak openly without brutalizing others or causing undue offense. Humble and aware that others have valuable input. Realize that with new information, they may change your mind. This means you are willing to both express your opinions and encourage others to do the same. You have found a path that allows for both candor and safety.
See/Hear ---> Story ---> Feel ---> Act
What you can see and hear are the facts. Separate behavior from story/label: he talked a lot and met with the boss one-on-one (behavior); therefore, he is going behind my back, he is controlling and doesn't respect me (story/label) Perhaps he was nervous, concerned, or unsure of himself. Her eyes pinched shut and lips tightened (behavior); she is scowling (label).
• It isn't long until our bodies respond with strong feelings or emotions to our environment--but the feelings are directly linked to our judgments of right/wrong, good/bad, kind/selfish, fair versus unfair, etc. rather than the actual environment. These feelings that are evoked by our stories, then drive our actions.
• There are infinite possible stories from one set of facts; we establish the climate for our story the moment we assume that the other person is guilty and we begin feeling angry and morally superior.
• We choose stories that provide justification of our belief systems, our behavior, our position, our goals, our proposals, our previous choices, our fears. (He thinks that because I'm a woman, people won't listen to me. He thinks I am incompetent, and this is bad. If I say something, he'll think I am a whiner or oversensitive or militant, so it's best to clam up.)
• Filter: we look for just the facts that justify our favorite stories.
• Jumping to conclusions and making assumptions: we assume that people do what they do because of personality factors alone. Why did that woman steal from a coworker? She's dishonest. Why did that man yell at his children? He's mean. We see actions far more readily than we see the forces behind them. In contrast, when considering our own actions, we are acutely aware of the forces behind our choices. Consequently, we believe that others do bad things because of personality flaws. Where as we do bad things because were forced to (for what ever justifiable reasons we've created). NOTE: assuming that others do contrary things because it is in their makeup or they actually enjoy doing them and then ignoring any other potential motivational forces is a mistake. Psychologists classify this mistake as an attribution error. And because it happens so consistently across people, times, and places, it gets a name all its own: The Fundamental Attribution Error.
• Sucker's choices (believing you only have two bad options: usually reduce to option of silence or option of violence).
• Ask yourself: how am I behaving? Am I in some form of silence or violence? What emotions are encouraging me to act this way? What story is creating these emotions? What evidence do I have to support the story? What facts have I filtered?
• Separate fact from story by focusing on behavior. Sometimes you fail to question your stories because you see them as immutable facts. They feel like facts. Test your ideas against a simple criteria: can you see or hear this thing you're calling a fact? Was it an actual behavior?
• Victim stories: It's not my fault, I am an innocent sufferer, the other person did a bad or wrong thing and I suffered as a result. We exaggerate our innocence. Unless it was clearly an event of victimization, don't ignore the role you played in the problem. We tend to tell our story in a way that judiciously avoids facts about what ever we have done or neglected to do that might have contributed to the problem. Or we speak of nothing but our noble motives.
• Villain stories: It's all your fault. We create these nasty little tales by turning normal, decent human beings into villains. We impute their motive, we tell everyone about the evils of the other party as if somehow were doing the world a huge favor, we reduce everything and everyone to labels. We overemphasize the other person's guilt.
• Helpless stories: There's nothing else I can do, I'm powerless, there are no healthy alternatives for dealing with this. Whatever justifies the action we're about to take. Often include sucker 's choices (if I don't yell at my son, he won't listen). While villain and victim stories look back to explain why we're in the situation we're in, helpless stories look forward to explain why we can't do anything to change our situation in the future. It is particularly easy to act helpless when we turn others' behavior into fixed and unchangeable traits.
• Why we tell clever (victim, villain, helpless) stories: maybe because they actually match reality (nice change), they get us off the hook, they keep us from acknowledging our own sellouts/self-betrayals
• Tell the rest of the story: Am I pretending not to notice my role in the problem? Why would a reasonable, rational, and decent person do with this person is doing? What do I really want for myself, for others, for the relationship? What I do right now if I really wanted these results?
• Multiple feelings are possible at once -- in fact this is usually the case.
• You and only you create your emotions. You can act on them or be acted on by them. We sometimes treat our emotions as if they are the only valid response, since in our minds they are both justified and accurate--we make no effort to change or even question them.
• When feelings become highly charged, the person is likely feeling disrespected in some way
• The best at dialogue do something completely different: they aren't held hostage by their emotions, nor do they try to hide or suppress them. Instead they act on their emotions. They influence and sometimes change their emotions by thinking them out. The way to do this is to go back to the story that you told yourself right before you had the feelings.
• Identifying our feelings is more difficult than you might imagine. Many of us are emotionally illiterate. When asked to describe how they're feeling, they use words such as "bad" or "angry" or "frightened" which would be okay if they were accurate descriptors, but often they're not. Individuals say they're angry when, in fact, they're feeling a mix of embarrassment and surprise. Or they suggest they're unhappy when they're feeling violated. Perhaps they suggest they're upset when they're feeling humiliated and cheated. You might wonder what difference words can make the words do matter. Knowing what you're really feeling helps you take a more accurate look at what's going on and why. For instance you're far more likely to take an honest look at the story are telling yourself if you admit you're feeling both embarrassed and surprised rather than simply angry. (http://csefel.uiuc.edu/modules/module2/english/h2-4.pdf)
• Ultimately your actions are being driven by your emotions. That happens if you are not acting on your emotions, your emotions are acting on you--controlling your behavior
• Sucker 's choices: because of blah, I had no choice but to blah (I had to be blatantly honest in a way that was sure to hurt or not say anything to protect them from being hurt).
• Has your goal become: saving face, avoiding embarrassment, winning, being right, punishing others...
• Dialogue: the free flow of meaning between two or more individuals. Dialogue killers: wanting to win or be right, seeking revenge, hoping to remain safe.
• Multitasking: self, safety, stories, skills
• Choosing which problem to confront (it's easy to choose the wrong one if you don't put much thought into it) and deciding if it is appropriate and if so when would be the best time to begin the conversation.
• Ensuring all relevant information and meaning is shared, including any risky meaning.
• Separate goals (what/why) from strategy (how). Understanding the other person's goals and sharing your goals will help you avoid needless discussions about strategies. A lot of time can be wasted discussing strategies when there is not clarity around goals.
• Avoid sucker's choices: look for the AND
• Dual processing: content and condition (what's being said and the person's behavior)
• Pay attention to what's happening to your objectives (focused and flexible)
• STATE your own path
• Exploring others' paths
• Explore roots of behavior: influence coming from self, others, things/environment influencing willingness/motivation and/or ability. Understand motivation: motivation comes from a person's understanding of the consequences. Understanding ability: sometimes people purposely hide the genuine source of a problem if they fear they will get in trouble for not being able or not wanting to do what's being asked. page 258 in crucial confrontations
• Do be very clear, honest, and open. Don't play charades, don't pass the buck, don't play read-my-mind or other guessing games. People can't improve if they don't know the specific details of the infraction. Don't be ambiguous or vague.
• Dealing with "Something came up".
• Dealing with strong feelings during a confrontation.
• If appropriate schedule a different time to have the conversation.
• Don't aim for perfection, aim for progress
Choosing the Problem: it is a sign that a you're dealing with the wrong problem when:
• you consider the possible solutions and realize that they don't lie in the realm you want to be moving toward
• you're constantly discussing the same issue (identify pattern)
• you're getting increasingly upset (if you still can't identify the real problem in this case, ask yourself "if I was angry enough to complain to my best friend about the problem, how would I describe it to them?" Will help bring clarity).
• Think CPR
All Relevant Information: Not only does the shared pool help individuals make better choices, but because the meaning is shared, people willingly act on whatever decisions are made. As people sit through an open discussion where ideas are shared, they take part in the free flow of meaning. Eventually they understand why the shared solution is the best solution, and they're committed to act. When people sit back quietly during touchy conversations and don't get involved, then they are rarely committed to the final decision. Since their ideas remain in their heads and their opinions never make it into the pool, they end up quietly criticizing or impassively resisting. Worse still, when others force only their ideas into the pool, people have a harder time accepting the information. They may say they're on board, but walk away and follow-through halfheartedly. The time you spend up front establishing a shared pool of meaning is more than paid for by faster, more committed action later on. And better decisions on the part of each empowered individual: their choices will fit better with the overall goal because they are aware of all of the information. We are not suggesting that every decision be made by consensus. We are simply suggesting that whatever the decision-making method, the greater the shared meaning in the pool, the better the choice--whoever makes it. (paraphrased from crucial books)
Risky Meaning: adding information to the pool of meaning can be quite difficult when the ideas we're about to dump into the collective consciousness contain delicate, unattractive, or controversial opinions. This often happens when we are talking about people rather than things. It is important to be able to speak your mind completely and do it in a way that makes it safe for others to hear what you have to say and to make sure they know they can respond to it as well. Addressing perceived intentions and invisible motives that we have drawn a conclusion about is also risky information since it is subjective.
Suckers Choices: in order to justify a sordid behavior, we think that we're caught between two distasteful options: Either we can be honest and attack our spouse or we can be kind and withhold the truth; either we can disagree with the boss and get shot for it or we can remain quiet and keep our job. Pick your poison. The options are set up as the only two options available. However there are always options that include honesty and kindness, disagreeing and keeping your job. Learn to look for those options instead of just seeing the simplistic trade-offs that keep us from thinking creatively. Clarify what you don't want, add to it what you do want, and ask your brain to start searching for healthy options to bring you to dialogue.
STATE your path: share your facts, tell your story, ask for others' path, talked tentatively, encourage dialogue. In sharing your story, approach it tentatively and gently: "I was wondering what that software is doing in your briefcase. It looks like you're taking it home. Is that what is going on?" Now encourage them to express their facts, stories, and feelings. Carefully listen to what they have to say. Equally important, be willing to abandon or reshape your story as more information pours into the pool of shared meaning.
Exploring others' paths: Be sincere. Be curious. Listen. Be patient. Stay curious. Break a cycle by looking toward root causes. Ask, mirror to confirm feelings (how they look or act), paraphrase to acknowledge their story, prime when you're getting nowhere. If you are having a hard time with this: Remember you are trying to understand their point of view, not necessarily agree with it or support it. Understanding doesn't equate with agreement. By coming to understand another person's path, we are not accepting it as absolute truth.
Addressing Motivation Issues:
• Clarifying a person's view of the consequence bundle often leads to behavior changes. Explore natural consequences: if you fail to follow up on commitments, you create extra stress for your boss, who has to guess what will get done. Natural consequences are always present and always serve as a potential source of motivation. Understanding a person's existing values and linking natural consequences with the values they care about the most will help them find their own motivations. There's a fine line between sharing natural consequences and threatening others. Your motive must be to solve the problem in a way that benefits both of you. Watch for the other person mistaking your description of natural consequences for threat. Listen as the other person explains their view of the consequences as they may be aware of factors you know little or nothing about.
• Sometimes people fail to connect short-term benefits with long-term pain. Try to get focus on long-term benefits (do you believe that being honest and holding people to their promises is inherently stressful and bad--do you understand that not addressing the issues definitely becomes stressful).
• Introduce the hidden victims: here's what your failure to comply is doing to other employees, to the customer, to the shareholders, to the boss, and so forth.
• Hold up a mirror: we are on the wrong side of our eyeballs. The reason others aren't motivated to change is often because of this.
• We are conspirators: Either we misuse power and mobilize others resistance or we withhold honest feedback and then take great pains to create clever and secret work-arounds that continue to keep others blind to the consequences they are causing.
• The solution that is tactically inferior, but has the full commitment of those who implement it, may be more effective than one that is tactically superior but is resisted by those who have to make it work.
• Make sure motivation isn't coming from a place of violence/force.
• Make sure rewards are not in conflict with goals.
Addressing Ability Issues
• Sometimes people purposely hide the genuine source of a problem if they fear they will get in trouble for not being able or not wanting to do what's being asked. Desiring to get out of hard and noxious work doesn't reflect a character flaw; it's what smart people do.
• As you begin to brainstorm ability barriers, don't forget to ask yourself: Will this person keep facing the problem? Will this problem occur again and why? Will others have similar problems? Have we identified all of the root causes? Japanese executives encourage leaders to ask "why" five times.
• Check for ability problems: it sounds like you're willing to do this, but is there anything standing in your way? Is there anything else we need to deal with or can I count and you having this done for me by Thursday at nine?
Progress: don't aim for perfection, aim for progress. Learn to slow the process down when your adrenaline gets pumping. Carry a few of the questions and ideas that have been suggested with you as you go. Pick the ones you think are most relevant to a topic at hand. And watch yourself get better a little at a time. Work with a partner or group. Formally set aside some time each week to review your crucial conversations and confrontations of the last week, to look at what's currently going on in your environment, to review some skills from the books.
Stay focused and flexible. Be focused: deal with problems one at a the time; consciously choose to deal with new issues--don't allow them to be forced upon you. Be flexible: notice new problems emerging, select the right problem (the original problem, the new one, or both), resolve a new problem and return to the original issue, if appropriate.
Dealing with "Something came up". Continually allowing things to come up without dealing with the breach of promise is a big problem both for businesses and families. Nothing destroys trust more casually than having to hope against hope that a person will follow through. Look for patterns and make sure that you address them. Not doing so gives tacit approval. Look for places where the following is true: results = no results + a good story. If something comes up, let me know as soon as you can.
Dealing with strong feelings during a confrontation. First ensure your safety. Second acknowledge and dissipate the emotion (don't get hooked, don't one-up, don't patronize). Explore the other persons' path to action; ask, mirror, paraphrase, prime. Express yourself in a way that says, "don't worry; I'll be okay with this discussion. I won't become defensive or angry. I am willing to be uncomfortable with you."
MOVE TO ACTION
• Dialogue is not decision-making: how are decisions going to be made: command, consult, vote, consensus? After choosing among the four methods consider: who cares, who knows, who must agree, how many people is it worth involving? Important notes: don't pretend to consult if you already made up your mind. Announce what you're doing. Report your decision.
• Lack of clarity is a problem solver's worst enemy. People can't improve if they don't know the specific details of the infraction. Don't be ambiguous or vague.
• Action plan: who, does what, by when, how will you follow up?
Start with self, multitask, create safety, understand and share your path, explore other's paths, move to action.
yeah but's--yeah but my situations more difficult, yeah but the people I deal with aren't so easy, yet but what if they refuse to talk yet but what if I don't trust the other person
bringing your own situations
May I check something out with you?
Do they believe I respect them?
Is the job hard to do? Is a repetitive, boring, uncomfortable, and so on? Is that why you don't wanna do it? Are others encouraging you not to do it? Is the task at odds with what the other person is getting rewarded floor?