Manage your conversations and get results

Welcome to the fifth of our six blog series—“Productivity:  Making Results Happen!”  Our mission is to offer you simple ideas that when applied to your challenges will likely bring you and your team results that were beyond expectation and in some cases beyond what you could even imagine.  Ultimately this blog is dedicated to leaders who want to produce extraordinary results and make a difference that leaves people with a great sense of fulfillment and satisfaction at work.

In our previous blogs we offered the following simple ideas:  Actions produce results.  While talking and discussion is important and necessary, without taking an action nothing moves from point A to B.  As a leader your primary ways of acting are linguistic:  Making requests, promises and recommendations followed by commitments to deliver.  #2 simple idea was Speaking and Listening are Action.  We offered the idea that one can choose what comes out of one’s mouth and one’s speaking can empower or disempower someone or something.  And while listening is often considered an uncontrolled activity it is possible to intentionally create how you choose to listen to people, challenges, commitments and visions for the future.  Simple idea #3 spoke to the power of choice to inspire the actions from others.  Once people experience the power to say yes or no, you can begin to galvanize people toward a unified goal.  In simple idea #4 we talked about the ability to “Enlist Others” to achieve new levels of performance through enrollment not obligation.

By now, you have guessed that we are offering a process for achieving extraordinary performance:  Commit to a result beyond what’ considered business as usual. Cause Action by your speaking and listening to set it in motion and to move toward that new possibility. Keep people inspired by consistently providing choice as opposed to obligation or compliance, recognize you cannot do this alone and enlist those around you to work together to deliver.  Now what?

That brings us to simple idea #5:  Develop Structures for Fulfillment.

Having things happen is a product of managing actions to fulfillment.  Creating and maintaining action is central to success.  A structure for fulfillment is comprised of two components:  Managing conversations and managing that commitments happen.

All that ever happens at work are conversations—whether they take place over the phone, in meetings or by email.  Recognizing that you can design and manage conversations enables you to progress toward fulfilling a result.  An executive once asked me why his team was not delivering.  I asked if he talked with them about delivery and whether he was managing the conversations that would have resulted in delivery and he said, “No—I assumed they know how to do that”.  While that might be accurate, when you’re asking people to produce something they’ve not done before, they will need a different structure of support to deliver it.  A simple approach is managing based on promises.  Have people make promises (commitments for action they will take) and then ask them what support they will need in order to succeed.  Owning their promise as your own will have you see ways to support them you may not previously have considered.  And checking in, offering support and guidance—not micro-managing, will enable success.

Consciously managing conversations around the challenge keeps the possibility alive and present for people.  A simple process to follow is:

  • Share what’s important to you about a new possibility and let others share for themselves. Keep that going through to delivery
  • Keep the new possibility in front of people by speaking it and putting it in documents so people always have it guiding them
  • Talk about pathways to deliver the new possibility. Collaborate on ideas for resources and whatever is needed to succeed.
  • Have people make specific commitments and promises for day to day work. Establish committed milestones and markers of progress.  Complete what’s done and not done throughout the effort.
  • Don’t stop. Most achievements are lost because people gave up before the game was over.  If you failed to keep promises and /or meet milestones, re-group, recommit and do and agree to take different actions.  Act, fail, re-group, and succeed.

A Structure for Fulfillment of managing conversations and actions gives you all you need to win.

Our next blog will give you the secret to building teams for win after win.  You think that helps to retain great talent?   You bet your sweet —–it does!

More to come.