complaint

Stop that Mole Now

Do you have a mole undermining the work of your team? Someone who constantly complains privately to any teammate who will listen but refuses to bring that same complaint publicly to the team? Someone whose actions are destroying teamwork? A mole erodes productivity. Stop that mole now. A team is like a garden. A good […]

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Temperature Reading

Virginia Satir developed this method for discovering a group’s temperature — what we in technology often call the system’s state. A facilitator leads the discovery. He or she keeps the group focused on each agenda item; works with the group members to help them communicate information congruently; and publicly displays each contribution so the group […]

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Safer Conversations with Management

You have what you believe is an important thought to share with management. You’re concerned though that management may dislike your message. How do you assess how safe it is to share your thought with management? It’s certainly perilous if management regularly scowls, aims their finger at you and fires words such as: “You have […]

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Coaching Whiners

Ban whining. It’s destructive communication inside organizations. Why is whining destructive? How can a whiny complaint be transformed into a constructive, actionable proposal? You ask Anthony, who reports to you, “How are things going?” Anthony unloads on you like a dump truck unloading fertilizer, “I’m sick and tired of the mandatory meetings that your management […]

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The Art of the Discovery Interview

“What?” raced through Janet’s head as she read the email. “Now that’s a surprise.” The message was from Jack Johnson, vice president of development. It said she would receive a meeting request from Rajan Alak, an outside consultant, to interview her about the problems with the new system. The message went on to say the […]

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Tell Me What You Want Me To Do

Are you overwhelmed by a mountain of email? I suggest you take a page out of the playbook of my colleague Eric Sperley who knows how to ask for what he wants. Eric sent the following message to the people who reported to him: Guys, Look, I am getting well over 250 emails a day. […]

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Selling Your Ideas to Management

Workshop Do you wish you could break through and communicate better with management? You aren’t alone. Employees do their best to share their ideas with busy managers. But they rarely receive feedback about the interaction. In this workshop, we will simulate interactions with management and provide feedback about the interaction. Behind closed doors,managers complain that […]

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The Revenue Neutrality Paradox

My friend Dan is a staffer for a software company. I asked him recently what he was working on. He told me he invests the majority of his time on a project to change the way his company licenses its software. As soon as I heard the words, “software,” “licensing,” and “change,” I was hooked. […]

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Unintentional Lesson

Ever had one of your buttons pushed? During a terrific session at the AYE Conference entitled Software by the Numbers, I discovered a new button of mine. Let’s call it the “Planning” button. The objective of the session was to explore the pitfalls of objectively trying to measure creative work. After giving general instructions to […]

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Looking Back, Looking Forward

Have you every compared your skills to another person? How about upping the comparison by comparing yourself to an earlier version of yourself? In this article, I compare my skills today with my skills 20 years earlier. First published by Software Testing and Quality Magazine Volume 2 Issue 2 March/April 2000. <> I’m forty-five, with […]

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