Collaboration Post 2 – 4 Tools To Create Constructive Collaboration by Matthew Hill

Most people, most of the time, are not in collaboration mode – they are pursuing a totally different agenda

Tool 1 Active Listening

Before you dismiss this with a, “ ‘been there, done that, know it all already!” (that would indicate that you are overdue for a listening refresher course), let us remind ourselves that most people, most of the time are not listening actively. They are more likely to be;

*Waiting their turn to give their version of what has just been said, and, if they are super competitive, to story top and WIN! This is not active listening.

Team

Selfless Working

*Asking WIIFM? “What’s in it for me?” This person mines your data looking to extract personal gain and advantage from your content. It is a search function akin to selective attention. Test this by throwing in some test words, “Sex, beer and Netflix” and watch thier reaction. When they twitch they will know you are on to them. This is not an empathic activity.

*I know best. The Listening Observer Critic sits high up, even whilst standing, and allows their privilege to leak out with advice, constructive (or undermining) criticism to let you know that they are just a little bit better than you. These people lack empathy and their contribution may leave a bitter residue.

And now the real thing – Active Listening

The missing elements include;

*First attempting a broad understanding of what is being said and then taking a further empathic step – to understand the speaker as the SPEAKER intends to be understood. This is the Platinum level of listening.

*Psychological proof. This stage is not attained by the listener repeating what they have heard. A smart phone can do that. They are tasked with processing the information from their own perspective, attempting empathy and seeing the matter from the speaker’s Point of View – POV and, then, expressing what they think they have heard. Here we may add, checking for clarity and the confirming the intention component as well. This will sound like, “So, IF I have understood you correctly, I heard XXX. Is that the message you wished me to receive?”

*Letting them finish. The talking stick remains with the speaker for as long as they wish so they finally can feel they have said their piece.

Shocked girl eavesdropping.

Listening?

Miracle

The first time you try these ideas out with a passionate person, the results may overwhelm both them and you. This may be the first occasion when they have actually felt listened too with respect, depth and acknowledgement.

Good luck

Tool 2. Point of View – POV

This is a POV and reconciliation exercise that can be practiced as a training exercise and then used in real conversations. The training version is simple. Split the group into 3s. The first person takes the role of Finance Director, the second, New Young Executive and the third, the Project Delivery Leader. The context is set – The 3 of you are discussing the progress of a critical 90-day work project for your Golden Goose customer. As it stands, you are not going to hit either the quality mark or the tight deadline. Q. What do you do? The suggestion that you are now going to form an opinion on is; PAID OVERTIME. Are you for it or against it in this instance?

+ The first task is for the 3 to get into character and give a one-line opinion, yes or no, with, maybe, one line of explanation.

The answers are normally the expected ones – The Finance Director says, “The new money is not in the budget – No,” Etc.

+ The second task is to work out a strategy for how to reconcile the 3 points of view to reach the required quality standard, and, put in enough work hours to finish the job and end before the deadline.

There normally follows some creative thinking, challenge to opposing positions and a reconciliation that ends come up with a strategy that is, 1) paid for, 2) creates more hours of labour to complete the project, and, 3) can be agreed upon by the 3 people in the discussion.

This exercises mirrors what is required of a Collaborative Working Group – the robust exchange of truths, creating options, reconciling differences and mobilising around a common outcome to stay focused on the task, and, not get distracted by difference.

Once the training version has been completed it is time to have a go in the BWW – The Big Wide World.

Tool 3. Letting Go of Defensiveness

If there were just one freeing exercise that was mandatory for all boards, groups and committees, this would be it. Humans are emotional, primal and full of fear. It is mostly misdirected fear around the participant’s core needs not being met that causes so much grief and delay.

Group Of Young Business People

Stop crossing your arms!

When a board member’s core needs are threatened, defensiveness can easily follow. The 3 needs are;

*Significance – Privilege, status, power, importance or position – When this is threatened or exposed, defensiveness will never be far behind.

*Competence – Another key component of a board member’s identity tool kit is their ability and skill level. When this is challenged, called into questioned or undermined in real time, defensive will surely follow.

*Likable – To generalise – We all have a deep deep desire to be admired, liked and approved of. It is a critical part of most of us and the one need that is examined the most – “Do they like me?” “Will they like me?” “Am I being likable now?” Etc.

How does defensiveness manifest? We can make progress when we spot the symptoms of defensiveness, spot them early and interrupt the negative behaviour that will inevitably follow.

Examples include; plunging into sulky silence, The “poor me” victim script, All or nothing, polarised thinking, wanting and needing to be right, spreading the blame or shame, experiencing a sudden drop in IQ, experiencing energy ripping through the body, doom mongering / catastrophizing, needing the last word, obsessive thinking, Needing to pour out information or saying, “I don’t really get defensive.”

Action – With self-awareness, each board / committee member can learn to notice their own pattern of moving into defensiveness. The next move it to interrupt that normal course of events, reset, and, move in a different direction.

If you start to witter when you feel attacked – Stop, centre yourself and remain silent. If you suffer a drop in IQ, stop and focus on an intelligence enhancing strategy such as collecting symptoms from the recent conversations and attempting to derive a root cause that can be dealt with. If you feel like pointing the finger, interrupt yourself and focus on environmental causes not ones originating for any individual in the room. And so on.

Tool 4 The Licenced Pessimist

If you are familiar with Edward De Bono’s Six Hat Thinking Model, you will know that the Black Hat is tasked with thinking of the biggest risks and the worst outcomes. This function is essential if a group is to combat GROUPTHINK. Groupthink happens when overly homogenous groups, often lead by a strong or charismatic leader, get behind an idea and really go for it. When it is a particularly extreme point of view, risk management goes out the window and, suddenly, something bizarre ends up being carried out by an enthusiastic lynch mob. Remember the HSBC credit officer who saw the 2007 subprime loan property disaster unfolding in the US and spoke up. He was fired by the group-thinking board and disaster followed shortly after.

Asking people to rotate and take a turn to act as the devil’s advocate is a great way to stress test all ideas, and challenge all assumptions before bad outcomes occur.

Hint – It is best to keep rotating this role through the group or an unconscious bias will grow and that single Black Hat will begin to be seen as not playing a useful role but OWNING their tasked negative perspective permanently.

Conclusion

We hope you have benefited from these 4 tools and ideas and will implement them with your committees, boards and teams.

Please like and share if you are going to take action or think others could benefit from this input. Thank you.

About the Author – Matthew Hill is a trainer, facilitator, coach and public speaker helping executives and leaders uncover their soft skill talents, develop their communication competences and, whilst reaching their own personal potential, help others to enjoy a better work life and great business outcomes. Contact him by telephone;  07540659995

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Book Review DIY Mediation – The Conflict Resolution Toolkit Book by Marc Reid – Review by Matthew Hill

Kill the monster whilst it is small

Marc Reid has produced something of substantial value to the wider business (and intercultural) community.

Context

The old world of HR seemed to recoil from conflict and wished to avoid all drama, only to be called back to the matter when things had escalated to a level requiring on the record, expensive and time consuming action – mainly tribunals and litigation.

Mediation and pre mediation intervention aims to kill the monster whilst it is small, keep the proceedings off the record, and, allow marginal characters to gain a voice and have their say when they are feeling aggressed, disrespected or bullied.

Easy to read and easy to apply

The book has a gentle gradient, starting with what is conflict, the stages of escalation, observed behaviours and their consequences, and, peaking with the AGREE model – a process that can be used to grab hold of the issues in an intelligent way, and, move the parties towards resolution quickly, and with minimal cost, time and residue left at the end.

Models

Marc has made a sometimes complex subject easy to follow and easy to apply. He breaks down larger topics with handy acronyms and provides completely pragmatic advise on those hard to reach areas such as remaining free of judgment and partiality. My two favourites were the 3FsFacts, Feeling and Future (when exploring the circumstances of a conflict) and the HEAR method for assertive communication – Happening – establishing events on a timeline, Effect – describing impact, Acknowledge – outlining the scenario from your point of view, and, Request – stating what you, as a mediator, would like to happen next.

Written in plain English and aimed at the average corporate HR professional, this tome will be of use to anyone in business or in a broader organisation who wishes to grasp the nettle of conflict, grow their own competence and awareness in holding challenging conversations, and, who is passionate about ethical early interventions to prevent exhausting escalations in the workplace.

No book is perfect and Marc has walked into the Mehrabian trap – taking this model as an example of how little language conveys in communication. (Mehrabian himself went to great lengths to correct this misapprehension.)

Conclusion

The book provides an accessible and vital tool for HR professionals and a wider audience who wish to move from avoidance to a more collaborative and inclusive approach to handling conflict, and, who wish to pick up and use a no nonsense approach to get the job of conflict reversal in hand in their organisation.

About the reviewer – Matthew Hill is a facilitator, trainer, speaker, author and coach working to build collaboration in international teams for the SME and Corporate sector.

Purchase

To buy the book go to Amazon UK; https://www.amazon.co.uk/DIY-Mediation-Conflict-Resolution-Toolkit/dp/1785893114/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1540458765&sr=8-1&keywords=diy+mediation+reid

How to Give a Really Bad Webinar by Matthew Hill

7 Tips to actively avoid the burden of success…

It is remarkable that, after 10 or 15 years of webinars becoming established as a mainstream from of communication, more than 50% of broadcasts still break most of the simple rules of education and entertainment and thus deliver a disappointing experience that, in turn, leads logically and directly to a poor audience outcome and commercial failure.

Person Video Conferencing On Mobile Phone

Helping the audience is not a crime

Here we take a light summer look at 7 webinar crimes and offer some heart warming and desperately needed remedies for the worst behaviours on air.

And,

If your crime sheet is long or you are a serial offender, good news. We offer you an amnesty. Just don’t do it again.

7 Webinar Crimes

  1. I will deliver a formal slow start for my intellectually limited audience

What assumptions have we made about our audience? That they have never attended a webinar before? That they cannot navigate around a webinar platform to find and type something in a chat box? That the person repeatedly typing in “My headphones don’t work”, “I can’t hear you” and, “Will I get the slides?” is the key decision maker from IBM?

They are NOT.

When we spend 7 minutes on etiquette, gentle set up and settling into the programme ourselves, like a cricketer starting out in a 5-day match, we miss the point by a mile. The aim is not to drive your delegates straight to their E Mail inbox.

The audience need meat and drama. They crave information and entertainment and they desire it NOW.

The attention span of your target corporate audience member is measured in seconds not days. They need a “hit” in the first minute of your show in order to have faith in your abilities to help them and, therefore, stay for the first 5. And they need a great first 5 to stay for more. And, you can still loose them with any subsequent 3 minute flat spot in your delivery.

Positive assumptions

Let us assume that the audience segment that matters consists of dynamic, proactive volunteers who enter bringing curiosity, intelligence and a willingness to participate and they are willing to challenge you in your programme.

Get to the point, cut the “We are X and have been established for 36 years” and, “Thank you for joining” stuff to a minimum and hit the spot quickly. It is not about you – it is about connecting valuable content to the ears and hearts of your audience, quickly. Did I mention speed?

  1. It’s so novel, I use it every time

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Many newbies know that you must draw your audience in and get them typing. This normally leads to DJ crime 101, “So, do tell me where you are listening from.”

Great the first time, but really. We have all heard that one a dozen times or more – Move On. Change up. And, the debriefing of this exercise is normally painfully thin. So, probably better to skip it altogether.

Provocation

How about something a little more intellectually challenging than finding the lost child at the zoo “And where do you live little Johnny?” Something more substantial – an unconscious bias question or something emotionally provocative and broadly related to your topic.

And polls – Whilst we are at it. Polls have a place but, they take time, they can kill the flow and, when you have a small audience, the percentage results give that away. 25% of the audience chose A (you have an audience of 4. Ouch.)

  1. It’s best to play it safe

Here we come to a profound philosophical point – remote education v tailored face-to-face interaction. Are we catering for the average? Do you feel the need to play it safe, especially as you know the recording will live on? Is your primary objective NOT to offend? Or are we tailoring the content and interaction to the amazing needs of the high potentials?

Many opt for the supposedly safe formula that uses a lowest common denominator pap programme. Actually, this satisfies no one and probably offends the sensibilities of everybody.

The audience are the stars

Great radio shows have interaction. Maybe we can learn from these and not just fire hose the listener with established versions of the main models in our field.

When we receive a question – can we break it down or challenge the assumptions that it contains in such a way to awaken the rest of the audience to think, “Wow, I never thought of it that way before.”

To me, that is the point of webinars in particular and education in general. And, it’s compelling, entertaining and exciting too. Not something that can be said of most webinars out there at the moment.

  1. For pace advice, I follow Forest Gump

There are 2 schools of thought here. One is that you should imagine you are talking to a deaf aunt and need to articulate slowly and clearly and compensate for her cheap hearing aid with some enthusiastic shouting.

In contrast, studies into reading and comprehension tell us that people can process language very quickly indeed.

Most presentations are delivered at 150 words a minute. We can actually listen at up to 450 words a minute. And we can think at 600 words a minute. So let us have a little more faith in the core demographic. They can keep up with the content.

Webinar word on the blackboard as laptop screen. 3D illustration

The Audience are the stars

  1. You can’t have too many words

You know what I am going to say here. Don’t write the show out on the slides. Don’t read the words, and don’t stick to the script.

When you do that you will seem unnatural, forced and dull, dull, dull.

It would take you too long to learn the advanced skills necessary to read a script in an animated way that sounds natural to be worth it.

Use key words and learn your patter walking up and down the office. In this way you will programme in your content and can access it when you need it. The key point about freeing yourself from the script is to respond to the audience.

When you focus on them you create a valuable LIVE experience and your audience will love it, love you and engage with the content.

P.S. When you write the show on the slides, the audience will probably prefer to read your text and then, upsettingly, find your voice an irritating interruption. Not cool.

  1. I hate large audiences

Have you experienced being a participant when there is almost nobody sharing your grim webinar audience journey with you? I remember once an American man asking his audience of half a dozen to open up their mics and share – because there we so few present – excruciating.

Get people to attend

Grow a legal, targeted, GDPR compliant list and invite them by constructing a compelling long copy invitation to show up, bring a friend, reflect on their needs, develop curiosity and anticipation and throw themselves into the show – They will then add to the buzz, the energy and the level of interaction.

I like the crescendo model where you start out even and get a little more hyped up and dramatic, especially during the Q&A.

A great measure of your broadcasting success is quickly seen when 90% of your audience stay for an extended Q&A session – that is evidence of engagement.

  1. I don’t want to be too demanding

Relying on hope and telepathy is not a sales strategy.

How many times have we experienced a decent show followed by…absolutely nothing?

Remember, the audience are silently and secretly begging to be lead. And, lead by you. If you have done your job correctly you will get post show interaction. Or, if you have the will, you can generate sign ups or even payments in just 90 minutes from cold.

That is the power of great webinars.

They represent, at their best, an accelerated experience of you, your credo, values and offer. They concertina time and lead to dynamic and welcome audience ACTION.

Webinar

Get to the point please 

Summary

I don’t know why broadcasters deliberately set out to gather small audiences, bore them and leave them dissatisfied. It is a mystery. Delivering platitudes slowly and hoping for a miracle will require one.

So, Top Tips Time…

*Get to value quickly

*Quick and clear spoken words

*Engage the brain to entertain

*People don’t buy boring

*If you’ve heard it elsewhere, it is old and tired

*You don’t have to target everybody – hit the best of your audience not the rest

*You won’t get a medal for slide word count

*An empty webinar is an empty webinar

*Lead your audience to ACTION – And they will say THANK YOU

*The webinar is a starter. Have them come back and look at your menu and order more

And,

*Practice, practice, practice

WEBINARS Colourful Vector Letters Icon

I hope you have enjoyed this provocative summer rant. Please like and share, now. (That is a command – see above.)

All the best,

And check out our Growth packages…

Author Profile – Matthew Hill is an experience trainer, coach and broadcaster helping others to market their services to get higher rates for the work they love doing.

Check out the next Going for Growth Bootcamp being held in the Hague, Netherlands, 17th to 19th August 2018. Just click on the link;

https://culture99.wordpress.com/business-growth-bootcamp-hague/

Please like and share. Thanks.

5 Ways To Get A Speaking Engagement And, 1 Way NOT To.

5 Methods for More Gigs and More Work One of the best converters of sweat into paid work is by giving speeches to warm, cosy and qualified rooms of decision making, budget holding corporate executives fascinated by your chosen field … Continue reading