Last week I posed the following question:

On a scale of 1-10 (10 being “it’s my favorite thing to do as a leader; I volunteer to conduct them!” and 1 being “I’d rather be banished to live out my days at a never-ending Chuck-E-Cheese birthday party for seven year olds.”) please rate yourself on the following:

  • How comfortable are you conducting challenging conversations?

I guessed most of you rated yourselves somewhere in the 4-6 range and then we explored the impact avoiding these conversations has on the view of your leadership. If you missed that masterful Thought Partner Friday, you can read it HERE.

Admittedly, I left you a little high and dry without any tips on how to actually conduct these challenging conversations. 

What trips us up in these conversations are the emotions that creep in, our desire to prove ourselves right, or our focus on convincing the other person that we are right. Most of the time, none of these are important – and none of these ever get us to a plan or a solution that allows us to move forward.

So keep these 4 steps in mind when preparing and conducting challenging conversations. And this is all you really need to say.

  1. SITUATION – Just present the what/when of the issue/topic/discussion (no emotion, just the facts)
  2. RESPONSE – Here’s what they did/didn’t do (this is the behavior that came as a result of the situation)
  3. IMPACT – On the business, on others, on you, on the organization’s reputation etc…
  4. PLAN – Here’s where you come up with a co-created solution to prevent a repeat

I’m telling you – seems easy enough – why doesn’t everyone do it? Because although we typically have a plan of what we want to say, we are often derailed and we don’t have a ScRIPt that helps us get back on track. 

Use this formula and your conversations will take half the time and be twice as successful. Keep it to just the facts.

This concept is adapted from a larger presentation on Conducting Challenging Conversations. If you are interested in bringing this presentation, or others, to your organization, contact me and let’s discuss.