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Ideas to Improve Your Performance
  • Prevent misunderstandings when you still aren't clear on the answer to a question by probing further. Ask a clarifying question or request an example. Sometimes an answer that isn't as clear as you hoped is a signal that you can provide value in clarification.
  • Check for understanding once you think you have the idea or plan clear. Take responsibility for your comprehension.



Talking Past Each Other 


I facilitate and participate in a lot of meetings with senior leaders. In companies large and small, I notice with frightening regularity that agreements and disagreements occur without taking the time to really understand what the other party is saying. Sometimes it is to avoid confrontation or discord. Other times because impatience is in the room. Still other times, it is because they are unaware. The implication is that the proverbial "can is kicked further down the road". Because the conflict isn't really resolved, the strategy not completely bought in to, or the plan isn't really achievable. One sign that this is happening is when you find yourself in multiple meetings with that feeling that you've talked about this topic many times before.


It is hard to do, and takes time get in sync and understand each other, but in every case, the situation worsens because leaders didn't take time to ask clarifying questions and confirm shared understanding. Last month I was in a meeting where the senior executive in the room said that revenue growth was the primary goal of the firm. Everyone agreed. But as conversations went on, it was clear that the philosophical notion everyone agreed to didn't really match their priorities. That's because they all had different understandings of what that growth (beyond an agreed upon number) meant to them. This group wasn't very good at clarifying and getting to any kind of shared understanding. The fact of the matter is, if you care about being productive, efficient, and above all, effective, sometimes going slow to understand each other allows you to go fast toward results. That's the only way collaboration ever really works.





A Slice of Life Balance           


  • Allow yourself, even if just once in your life, to love an animal. Not just care for, or keep one, but really truly love them. You may find they show you parts of your heart that humans may not be able to.


  • In this months slice of life balance, I'm including a link to a short essay I've written as a special tribute to Kramer.  Since February of 2000, Kramer, our West Highland Terrier has been a loyal companion and source of great joy for my family and me. It pained me to say goodbye to him last week as he succumbed to chronic renal failure.