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Clearview® Performance Systems brings you ... ® ... a Culture of Results & Engagement®

Here's the next in our series of weekly managerial TIPS (Techniques, Insights, and Practical Solutions)
to help you better engage your team in the activities that lead to higher performance.

CORE Bites Issue #77
(June 2, 2020)

When There's No Pressure ... There Will Be No Diamonds!

I live in Arizona, a state in the southwestern region of the United States. And, in Arizona, we're very fortunate to have the world-class, one-of-a-kind, Musical Instrument Museum right in our own backyard. The "MIM," as we like to call it, opened in 2010 to much fanfare. It is the largest museum of its type in the world with a collection of over 15,000 musical instruments and associated objects from nearly 200 countries. It's an awesome place (check it out).

Back in the day—when we were allowed out of our homes and could visit museums and such—my wife and I visited the MIM and, while there, we were treated to a quote by Theodore Steinway (of the famous Steinway piano family):

"In one of our concert grand pianos, 243 taut strings exert a pull of 40,000 pounds on an iron frame. It is proof that out of great tension may come great harmony."

Wow! "... out of great tension may come great harmony." What a great segue to this week's issue of CORE Bites. Based on the many conversations I've been part of while working from home, as well as conversations I've had with clients about virtual meetings they've had with their respective teams, I think it would be safe to say that remote working provides significant opportunities for misunderstanding among coworkers and between supervisors and team members. But why?

Our brain is uniquely configured as a receiving station for sensory signals, and what we see, hear, and feel are constantly shaped by emotions, memories, moods, and beliefs. And, in the absence of many of the senses we count on—as is true when we're working remotely and much is being conveyed electronically—opinions can be formed, communications can be muddled, and the fine line between 'deepening' a relationship and 'damaging' a relationship can be crossed.

As humans, we're enormously dependent upon nonverbal cues to help us read people and interpret situations. If you think about it, the very basis of trust stems from our ability to hear what isn't being said—trust happens when people do what we expect and when the information that helps us reconcile what we expect against what we sense is absent, we feel a little less connected, a little less supported and, potentially, a little less sure we can count on each other.

While it's easy to say that all we need to do is be more careful with our communications when we're working remotely, what's not so easy is knowing what to say to defuse potential conflict and avoid causing additional disruption. If you've studied negotiation, you learned the law of win/win is "Let's not do it your way or my way ... let's do it the best way." If we learn to manage conflict constructively, we harness its energy for creative use and further development.

High Value Activity (HVA) Action Steps

Because you can never really be 100% certain that whoever you're communicating with truly understands what you're hoping to convey unless you ask them what you said, this week (starting today), try out some of the 'defusing conflict' HVAs below:

  • "I'm with you on that."
  • "I understand; that needs to be corrected. How can I support you?"
  • "I wasn't aware of that situation/challenge. I'm interested in hearing more. Please tell me what happened."
  • "Thank you for your candor—I appreciate your feedback."
  • "I understand how you feel. I've felt the same way when I've had that happen. What I've found is ..." [The Feel/Felt/Found method was profiled in a previous issue of CORE Bites.]
  • "In light of what was learned during this situation, how can this be avoided in the future?"
  • "I can see that you've thought this through, and I value your perspective, but I'm seeing this in a different way. Let me explain ..."
  • "I appreciate that you're upset but raising your voice won't help. Can we just talk this through?"
  • "I had no idea that's how my communication/action/message was being interpreted. I've learned something here and I'll be more mindful of this in the future. Thank you."

I'd love to hear how these HVAs work for you!

Neil Dempster, PhD, MBA
RESULTant™ and Behavioral Engineer

Quote of the Week

"The aim of argument and of discussion, should not be victory, but progress."

— Joseph Joubert —