An organization is a network of conversations and it’s through these conversations that you create positive relationships and define and accomplish essential tasks for success. And the quality of your conversations and relationships has a major impact on individual and collective performance and productivity. The more skilled you become in your conversations, the more you’ll be able to generate and meet commitments that create success. In addition to paying attention to the quality of our relationships with others, it’s also important to stay aware of the way you listen to yourself and others ― your listening permeates each of these conversations and determines the quality and outcome of your interactions. Our listening (or the conversations we have with ourselves) is the filter through which we hear what others say and interpret the events and situations in our lives. Become more aware of how your listening is impacting your results and start paying attention to what the “voice in your head” is telling you about the person you’re in conversation with or the difficult situations in your life. There are three key types of conversations we have with others:
- Conversations for Relationship: These conversations explore common interests, create mutual commitments, and resolve shared concerns. In organizations, these are the conversations that define organizational values, operating principles and team agreements.
- Conversations for Possibilities: These are speculative conversations that explore what’s possible around a particular topic. They are focused on generating a broad future scenario with multiple ideas, options and opportunities. In organizations, these are the conversations that create and describe the organizational vision, mission and strategies.
- Conversations for Action: These conversations establish the criteria for success, identify what needs to happen, delineate roles and responsibilities, create timelines, and define standards/expectations for completion. In organizations, these are the conversations that define goals, action plans, commitments and measures of success.
When handled effectively and nested within the context of relationship and possibilities, conversations for action help organizations make, manage and meet commitments. Unfortunately, many leaders often move directly into conversations for action without laying the foundation of relationship and possibility, leaving others feeling disregarded, uninterested and disengaged in the key tasks and programs necessary for success. It’s important to take the time to build relationship, establish shared objectives and explore possible solutions before assigning tasks and timelines for action. This investment helps build employee engagement and shared commitment to key team and company goals.
Join us at The Language of Leadership Program that begins on February 12, 2013 and learn how to leverage your conversations to create the results you desire. Plus you’ll practice a powerful four-step methodology for engaging in fruitful conversations for action that build trust, improve morale and boost performance.