October 2011

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Simple sharing got results

“You really got his attention,” my husband noted. He was referring to the contractor who actually showed up on time today, and apologized for having been late so often.

powerphrase_icon2“You must have spoken strong.”

What had I said? I just shared the truth – that my husband and I didn’t believe any estimates he gave us because they were consistently unrelated to when he actually arrived. I explained that we didn’t enjoy relationships where we didn’t have trust, and that made us reluctant to do any more work with him, even though the quality of his work was excellent.

I just told him how it was. My husband had complained about his erratic arrivals many times, but my words got through.

The man has a heart, and I spoke from mine. That tapped into his. Sometimes simple truth is the most powerful. 

Subtle communication achieves what directivenss couldn’t

My colleague and coauthor Wendy Mack had no intention of playing seated volleyball in her fine clothes at the Olympic Training Center, where she spoke recently. But when asked to, she was willing to sit on the court with the rest of the spectators. And she was willing to sit in a circle when asked. And she was willing to toss the ball wendy_mackaround the circle. Before she knew it, she and everyone there was crawling around the floor like crabs having a blast playing “wounded Warrier Volleyball.”

The instructer won the full cooperation of everyone there by inviting them to take small steps. And they were glad they did.

Sometimes skillful communication is more about setting conditions where people will do what you want than it is about diecting them. 

Wendy tells this story in addition to two practical articles about change communication in her latest newsletter. It’s really well done, so check it out.  

You never know when a kind word will hit a need

Our work with the contractor went as contracting work often does. Every small project uncovered a larger need and estimates of an hour took days. We had just hit a wall of frustration from discovering that the sky light installation wasn’t as simple a matter as we had been told, when our neighbor shouted out,

  • Your house is looking beautiful!

We thought so, too, but it sure helped to hear someone else say so.

You never know when a kind word is just exactly what someone needs to hear. 

Kata Talk: Navigate the Chutes and Ladders of Continuous Improvement

Kata Talk: Navigate the Chutes and Ladders of Continuous Improvement 

 This is a learning session that Mike Rother and I premiered at a GBMP conference in Springfield. It’s designed to get leaders and managers into the mindset of what they need to do to develop and guide continuous improvement. This session is interactive and was a big hit.