safety

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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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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We Know Best

“We know better than they do about what’s needed.” Whenever you hear an influential member of your team utter those words, fasten your safety belt. The team is nearing the Twilight Zone. The person saying, “We know better than they do about what’s needed,” is referring to the customer. When decision-makers say “We don’t have […]

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What Haven’t You Told Me?

What vital element of business communication is the most forgotten? Discovering what hasn’t been said. Marianne, Jamshid, Johanna, and Dave are participants in a project retrospective for the CRM system. Lan, the retrospective leader, asks the group to brainstorm the question, “What problems did you experience working with your clients during the project.” Rather than […]

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I Won’t Stand In the Way

What do you do when a teammate says, “I won’t stand in the way of the team accepting the proposal.” and when asked directly whether they will support the proposal, they hem and haw without clearly saying “Yes.”? In my post on Decide as a Team, I discussed how a team can use the Roman […]

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Word Choices — We — Part 2

In my first entry about the word "we," I argued using the words "We decided to…" often create ambiguity. I suggested asking yourself several questions to reduce ambiguity either when you hear those words or when you are about to say them. In this entry, I will lay out the case for when using the […]

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Safety Check

You have heard repeatedly that an agenda is a vital ingredient to a successful meeting. But little is ever heard about safety in meetings—the environmental variable that determines whether people participate or merely observe. How do you measure safety? What actions are available to leaders for creating a safe meeting environment? First published in the […]

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Clarify the Story

Talking to upper management about information technology resource consumption can be a tricky proposition. Resource consumption is complicated but upper management demands a simple story that makes business sense to them. This article explains how an effective manager of a storage management group frames the conversation.

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