7 Elevator Conversations
Tough conversations are like riding an elevator. There comes a point, if you don’t speak, talking is nearly impossible.
7 elevator conversations:
- Performance issues. (Especially with higher ups.)
- Changes that impact status within organizations.
- Disappointment with new hires.
- Processes that have outlived their usefulness.
- Interpersonal tensions.
- Disagreement with higher ups.
- Follow up that falls through. Deadlines that come and go.
Leaders who can’t have tough conversations stagnate in frustration.
7 ways to solve the elevator problem:
#1. Bring up tough issues with compassion. Don’t use anger as courage.
#2. Bring up tough issues quickly. One way to solve the elevator problem is to start talking when you step in.
#3. Let go the need to have a solution before having conversations. Negative situations drag on, when leaders need to know-all and decide-all.
Adopt a “find a solution” approach.
#4. State the “better”. Leaders fall short when they focus on things they don’t want.
Spend 30% of your time discussing problems and 70% creating “better”.
#5. Declare concerns with optimism. Try saying, “I’m concerned about hurting people’s feelings, but I believe we can make things better if we deal with this issue.”
#6. Flex your “tough conversation” muscles frequently. Try including the following questions in daily conversations:
- What’s working? Speak positives at least 4x more often than negatives. Walk around looking for behaviors, progress, or results to praise.
- What could be better? Get beyond, “Nothing could be better.” You might respond, “You mean we’re in heaven? There must be something that could be better.”
- What do we need to stop doing?
- What am I doing that’s helpful? (What are you doing that’s helpful?)
- How might I/you be more helpful?
- What’s the next step? Get specific.
- When can you let me know?
- What are we/you avoiding?
#7. Forget about perfection.
Perfection blocks better.
What tough conversations do leaders avoid?
How might tough conversations become a regular part of organizational life (without become negative)?