We are what we think and say…
Everything we do is based on relationships.
Relationships make the world go ‘round. We buy out of relationships, wars are fought over broken relationships, we have children because of relationships—every single thing that takes place on this planet is an extension of and is driven by relationships. In relationships, we can experience the peaks of ecstasy and the valleys of agony. They have the greatest potential to give us joy, cause us to grow and become more, if we choose.
The notion that our lives succeed or fail one conversation at a time is at once commonsensical and revolutionary. All of us have conversations that, for better or worse, profoundly altered our professional lives or personal lives. Who among us hasn’t spent time and energy cleaning up aftermath of a significant but failed conversation? Who among us hasn’t recognised, perhaps too late, that a client was frustrated or a loved one wounded because we failed to engage in the conversation that was needed? By the same token, most of us have left a successful conversation clicking our heels at the outcome, eagerly anticipating the next one.
While success is often measured by accumulation of titles, acquisitions and the financial bottom line, little or no attention is paid to the power of each conversation to move us towards or away from our stated business or life goals. No longer, Susan Scott set out to help us change our lives – one conversation at a time…..
Susan Scott in her book “Fierce Conversation” says – While no single conversation is guaranteed to change the trajectory of a career, a business, a marriage, or a life, any single conversation can. The conversation is the relationship.
When you think of a fierce conversation, think passion, integrity, authenticity, collaboration. Think cultural transformation. Think Leadership
Susan’s 7 principles are…
No plan survives it collision with reality, and reality has a habit of shifting, at work and at home. Markets and economies change, requiring shifts in strategy. People change and forget to tell each other – colleagues, customers, spouses and friends. We are all changing all the time. Not only do we neglect to share with others, we are skilled at masking it even to ourselves
Principle 2: Come out from behind yourself into the conversation and make it real.
While many fear “real” it is the unreal conversation that should scare us to death. Unreal conversations are expensive for the individual and the organisation. No one has to change, but everyone has to have the conversation. When the conversation is real, the change occurs before the conversation is over. You will accomplish your goals in large, part by making every conversation you have as real as possible.
Principle 3: Be here, prepared to be nowhere else.
Our work, our relationships, and our lives succeed or fail one conversation at a time. While no single conversation is guaranteed to transform a company, a relationship, or a life, any single conversation can. Speak and listen as if this is the most important conversation you will ever have with this person. It could be. Participate as if it matters. It does.
Principle 4: Tackle your toughest challenge today.
Burnout doesn’t occur because we’re solving problems, it occurs because we’ve been trying to solve the same problem over and over. The problem named is the problem solved. Identify and then confront the real obstacles in your path. Stay current with the people important to your success and happiness. Travel light, agenda free.
Don’t just trust your instincts – obey them. Your radar screen works perfectly. It’s the operator who is in question. An intelligence agent is sending you messages every day, all day. Tune in. Pay attention. Share these thoughts with others. What we label as illusion is the scent of something real coming close.
Principle 6: Take responsibility for your emotional wake.
For a leader, there is no trivial comment. Something you don’t remember saying may have had a devastating impact on someone who looked to you for guidance and approval. The conversation is not about the relationship; the conversation is the relationship. Learning to deliver the message without the load allows you to speak with clarity, convictions, and compassions.
When there is simply a whole lot of talking going on, conversations can be so empty of meaning they crackle. Memorable conversations include breathing space. Slow down the conversation, so that insight can occur in the space between words and you can discover what the conversation really wants and needs to be about.
THE SIX STEPS TO EMPOWERED CONVERSATIONS
- Name the issue
- Select a specific example that illustrates the behaviour or situation you want to change
- Describe the emotion
- Identify your contribution to this problem
- Indicate your wish to resolve the issue
- Invite the other person to respond