Keeping the Game Moving: Conversations for Actionby Jennifer Hibbits
As leaders, we all manage projects and people. Using the contextual tool, Conversations for Action, keeps the “game in play” by having the project moving forward with velocity and clarity.
Begin by asking yourself, “Do I have a clear, measurable result that I want to produce?” (In other words, “Will I and others know when we get there?”) The more specific you can be has others see the result more clearly and you’ll know when you are complete. Next, identify who are some resources or partners that could contribute to the accomplishment of this project? Prepare to have a conversation where you will state what you see is possible and create the value proposition in a conversation (March 2001 Coaching Tip). Don’t forget to “package” your project into their commitments and concerns!
Once you have identified possible resources and partners, have an idea about how you would like for them to “play.”
Invite their participation by:
- Making a proposal
- Making a request
- Making a promise (KEY: effective promises are made to those whom you would be mortified and embarrassed if you didn’t keep your promise. I.e. don’t make promises to yourself! Too many of us are unreliable in this area.)
- Making an offer
- Extending an invitation
Be specific when asking. Don’t rely on a loose request like “let’s do lunch.” A clearer request is “Let’s have lunch at Green’s on April 30th at noon. I’ll pick you up. Does that work for you?”
Identify whom you want to participate. If you don’t know their name, get it. Don’t say “the woman that heads up HR.”
Articulate what you want them to do. Be clear in your conditions of satisfaction. For example, what information do you want included in the report? What would meet your expectations? What would be beyond your expectations? Communicate this to them.
Specify by when you want their commitment. “The end of the week” is too loose. She may be in a different time zone. What you are asking of them may effect other commitments you have. Be as clear as “by 5:00 on Tuesday, April 17th.”
This is the trickiest part, make sure you secure a definite response. This includes:
- Yes (“I accept”)
- Counter Offer (“No, but here’s what I will do”)
- Decline (“I don’t choose to”)
- Delayed Response (“I can’t answer the request right now, but will have an answer for you by 3:00 on Wednesday, April 25th”)
Of course, be prepared to answer questions, address their concerns, and resolve any misunderstood concepts. Remember, those things that are obvious to you may not be obvious to others and will need to be communicated.