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Temple University Keynote: Managing the Tough Talks

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Temple University Keynote: Managing the Tough Talks

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Nobody likes having the difficult conversations. But by paying attention to what makes them so difficult, we can work through these challenges and make these "tough talks" productive.

Nobody likes having the difficult conversations. But by paying attention to what makes them so difficult, we can work through these challenges and make these "tough talks" productive.

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Temple University Keynote: Managing the Tough Talks

  1. 1. MANAGING THE “TOUGH TALKS”
  2. 2. HELLO! I am Amma Marfo I am here because I love helping people find the way they live and work best. You can find me at @ammamarfo
  3. 3. THE CHALLENGE OF CONVERSATION 0
  4. 4. These conversations happen all the time, Place your screenshot here even around things that matter (relatively) little. LOW STAKES, STILL HARD
  5. 5. “ If we have this tough a time talking with understanding and patience around (relatively) trivial things, what do our meaningful conversations look like?
  6. 6. CHALLENGES OF CONFLICT ⊡ Premature Decisiveness ⊡ Intent to Narrow ⊡ Win-Lose Orientation ⊡ Abdication of Responsibility This quartet, used together, make decisions needlessly contentious and difficult. They also make creativity next to impossible.
  7. 7. Creativity, productivity, and impact need to break free from these four challenges.
  8. 8. Think about the challenge your organization is currently facing.
  9. 9. PREMATURE DECISIVENESS 1
  10. 10. What’s the rush? No, seriously.
  11. 11. What do we gain when we slow down?
  12. 12. SEPARATE INVENTION FROM EVALUATION ⊡ Statement of the Issue (“What are we looking at here?”) ⊡ Analysis of Said Issue (“What’s causing this?”) ⊡ Consideration of General Approaches (“What are our options?”) ⊡ Identification of Specific Actions (“So what are we going to do?”)
  13. 13. BRING IT INTO YOUR WORLD Take a few moments to answer the following: How could slowing down premature decisiveness help your organization solve their big problem?
  14. 14. INTENT TO NARROW 2
  15. 15. We’re all in a rush to fix things. (Well, most of us.)
  16. 16. BRING IT INTO YOUR WORLD Take a look at that second step. Interpretation slows the jump from discovery to ideation. In doing that, the ideas generated in the third step are worthwhile and purposeful.
  17. 17. BRING IT INTO YOUR WORLD Take a few moments to answer the following: How could resisting your natural intent to narrow help your organization solve their big problem?
  18. 18. WIN-LOSE ORIENTATION 3
  19. 19. Winning feels good. And we like that feeling.
  20. 20. “ First, help this person. -Bruce Kasanoff
  21. 21. BRING IT INTO YOUR WORLD Take a few moments to answer the following: How could removing your attachment to “winning” the debate help your organization solve their big problem?
  22. 22. ABDICATION OF RESPONSIBILITY 4
  23. 23. Sometimes, when things don’t go our way, we’re tempted to remove ourselves altogether.
  24. 24. Here, it is imperative to understand the needs addressed by other perspectives.
  25. 25. BRING IT INTO YOUR WORLD Take a few moments to answer the following: How could finding and embracing your responsibility for the outcome help your organization solve their big problem?
  26. 26. A FEW EXTRA TOOLS FOR YOUR TOOLBOX
  27. 27. THE BIG QUESTIONS, IN REVIEW ⊡ How could slowing down premature decisiveness help my organization solve its big problem? ⊡ How could resisting our natural intent to narrow help my organization solve its big problem? ⊡ How could removing my attachment to “winning” the debate help my organization solve its big problem? ⊡ How could finding and embracing my responsibility for the outcome help my organization solve its big problem?
  28. 28. THE ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF CREATIVITY ALLIES, ADVOCATES, + ACTIVATORS Who supports your organization that can help you work through these goals? BROADMINDEDNESS Where can you look for inspiration for solving the problems at hand, and how can you introduce them to your group? COLLABORATION Are there other leaders or groups on campus that have this down? Can they help you solve the problem at hand? DETERMINATION These solutions may take a while. A semester, a year, your Temple career, or even longer. Are you ready for that? EXECUTION Are you well suited to move an idea from your head, into action out in the world? Who or what can help you? FLEXIBILITY It may take a few tries to get this “right.” How will you learn to shift and pivot as your circumstances change?
  29. 29. Place your screenshot here YOU’LL GROW INTO IT.
  30. 30. “ Have heart. ⊡ Who will this help? ⊡ Who could it hurt? ⊡ How do I maximize the first, while minimizing the second?
  31. 31. THANKS! Any questions? You can find me at @ammamarfo amma.marfo@gmail.com ammamarfo.com
  32. 32. CREDITS Special thanks to all the people who made and released these awesome resources for free: ⊡ Presentation template by SlidesCarnival ⊡ Photographs by Unsplash

Notes de l'éditeur

  • Fisher and Ury noted these when talking about negotiation. And what is making a decision for your organization, but a negotiation with a specific destination?
  • We’re all busy. There’s never enough time to do anything- we barely get to meet, there’s too much to talk about...and that makes us rush decisions that likely shouldn’t be rushed. As a bonus, if we rush a decision that means we can’t get in arguments. No time, right?
    But, this creates a different problem. Unaddressed slights, cutoffs, or silences created in this expedited process turn into quieter but more insidious conflicts.

    This is especially difficult when hearing ideas, because we all- whether it’s our style or not- tend to reward, or hold a certain kind of reverence, for the first idea that comes up in a shared space. He who speaks first, is likely to get rewarded. Even if it’s not the best idea, we like it because it was first.
  • We get the opportunity to analyze how our actions impact people.
    We get to hear voices of people whose ideas might take longer to materialize, either because they need more information or because their neural pathways are fueled differently.
    We can create solutions that address the needs of multiple constituencies.
  • Fisher and Ury noted these when talking about negotiation. And what is making a decision for your organization, but a negotiation with a specific destination?
  • That intent to narrow comes from not wanting to present too many options. Why? Because too many options makes our jobs harder, and we often resist making things harder when we’re (tie back to part 1) trying to move fast. The second comes about as a consequence of the first.

  • They might find that the ideas they were considering will have an adverse impact on others, or that their solution might create a new problem for someone else. Alternate versions of the design thinking model name the first step as “empathy,” rather than “discovery,” and it’s that principle that this practice is aimed at. When you rush to conclusions, who does that affect and how?
  • Related to this: being wrong doesn’t feel good. That’s why those people who yell on the Internet yell so loudly when confronted. Because sitting in the quiet reveals things we might not like or want to see.
    But winning at all costs is a problem when trying to move an organization forward, for a few reasons.

    Those who “lose,” might not be wrong. They may be speaking for something really important to the organization’s success. What’s more, even if you agree that all involved must move forward with the final decision, they’ll remember how you made one another feel.
  • Win-lose orientation starts to matter a little less when the decisions being made are couched in Bruce Kasanoff’s language. The thing you’re fighting for? Who does that represent? How can you bring their needs into play? And whatever the other side is? How might they need your help?

    Preface any movement on conflict with a discussion of needs. Not just what you want from the end result, but why. What informs that want. What the backstory is. This humanizes the two (or more!) sides of the debate, grounds what might seem like abstract demands in a context that is essential for making decisions.
  • Management expert Patrick Lencioni is fond of the rule: once a decision is made, everyone agrees to abide by and enact the outcome the group reaches. He sees it as encouragement for those shy or reluctant to share their opinion. If you don’t say what you thought should be different, how will people know?

    Again, this inclination is dangerous in an organization.
    It creates factions and chasms that may affect how people in the org work with one another, and represent themselves to the outside world. Unity, or an understanding of a common goal, are needed for organizational health to thrive. In their absence, bigger problems will arise.
    And moving an organization in a new direction is incredibly difficult when looking back, or around for blame.
  • A good exercise for this: after factions start to develop, let each side articulate what their stance is based on. How does it meet their needs? After that is done for both sides, the opposite side needs to articulate what they heard and understood. This way, the stance is explored further, and it becomes less about “sides” and more about “needs.”
  • That last question, is powerful. It’s a great one to share with prospective employers or collaborators. How did I make my own individual mark on this group I led through change, creativity, and impact?
  • Win-lose orientation starts to matter a little less when the decisions being made are couched in Bruce Kasanoff’s language. The thing you’re fighting for? Who does that represent? How can you bring their needs into play? And whatever the other side is? How might they need your help?

    Preface any movement on conflict with a discussion of needs. Not just what you want from the end result, but why. What informs that want. What the backstory is. This humanizes the two (or more!) sides of the debate, grounds what might seem like abstract demands in a context that is essential for making decisions.
  • Management expert Patrick Lencioni is fond of the rule: once a decision is made, everyone agrees to abide by and enact the outcome the group reaches. He sees it as encouragement for those shy or reluctant to share their opinion. If you don’t say what you thought should be different, how will people know?

    Again, this inclination is dangerous in an organization.
    It creates factions and chasms that may affect how people in the org work with one another, and represent themselves to the outside world. Unity, or an understanding of a common goal, are needed for organizational health to thrive. In their absence, bigger problems will arise.
    And moving an organization in a new direction is incredibly difficult when looking back, or around for blame.

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