Communications

"In fact, I would call lack of candor the biggest dirty little secret in business." — Jack Welch

"The quality of relationships is dependent on the quality of communication." — Karen Phelan

"The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people." — Theodore Roosevelt

How candid is your organization?

Jack Welch was hailed as the manager of the millennium and widely imitated during the 80's, 90's and 00's, responsible for the popularity of six sigma, the 20/70/10 employee designation, and high potential leadership programs. Yet, in his interviews and writings, Welch claims that candid communication is the key to a successful organization. But this emphasis on communication was never widely copied.

Consider your own organization. How often to people keep their opinions to themselves for the sake of avoiding conflict?  Do people freely give candid feedback, especially on performance? Are leadership decisions ever questioned?  Do you regularly debrief meetings? These behaviors create productive and collaborative organizations.

If you answered "no" to these questions, you may be expecting an exhortation to step up to the plate or bite the bullet or some other metaphor to start speaking your mind.  However, the reality is that people don't speak candidly because it can be uncomfortable, harsh, and sometimes hurtful. 

The difficulty with establishing candor as an organizational behavior is that the downside is very personal - people may be ostracized or punished for being honest - while the upside is organizational - the community benefits more than the individual.

Candid communications, the easy way

The key to organizational candor is to de-personalize the conversation. No one likes to be judged, critiqued, or corrected and that's simply part of human nature. Why fight human nature when you can leverage it? People naturally relate to biographies, imitation, and imagining.

By using personas to voice opinions, you can instantly defuse an uncomfortable situation, leveraging these natural human abilities. For example, if you are concerned about product quality but fear being accused of "not being a team member," you can ask the group "What would Steve Jobs say about our product?"  If you are you struggling with a team leader who is not inclusive of the group, you can ask, "How would Oprah Winfrey handle this meeting?" Do your meetings drag without little decision-making? Try "Let's use Jack Welch's approach to running meetings."

The use of personas allows you to have difficult conversations in a fun and easy manner.  We offer a card deck that describes the values and behaviors of a number of famous leaders that can be used for feedback, expectations setting, and team building.

Applications for the Act Like a Leader Method:
Difficult Conversations

Applications for the Act Like a Leader Method:
Expectations Setting

Applications for the Act Like a Leader Method:
Team Building

Applications for the Act Like a Leader Method:
Innovation

Holding Uncomfortable Conversations

The reason why certain conversations are uncomfortable is because they are both personal and judgmental. By depersonalizing the discussion and eliminating the me versus you dynamic, our method makes it fun and easy to give feedback and review performance. Plus, people do it together.

Expectations Setting

How do you prefer to be managed or communicated with? Very often the source of conflict is misunderstanding the preferred working styles and habits of our co-workers. By using the leader personas to describe yourself and your ideal colleagues, this simple and quick exercise can communicate how you like to work and help you to understand how your colleagues work best.

Team Building

Many project teams simple don't have the time to perform a team assessment and learn the accompanying vernacular. Our personas can help you assess the personalities on your team, the characteristics missing, and help you fill the gaps in a fun and intuitive way.

Innovation

Many people think they lack creativity because they are stuck in the same thought patterns. Adopting a new persona and imagining their situation is a fun and easy way to break tired patterns and interact in new and innovative ways.

Our Services

We focus on the areas that have the biggest impact on organizations. Our solutions are simple, intuitive, and often fun to implement because they utilize people's natural strengths.