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March 2018

3 posts from April 2018

Work a little harder when using bald words to communicate. Use Bill Jensen's CLEAR model.

Texting, emailing, slacking (a communication thing now--right?)... all these channels rely on typed words with no vocal nuance. This lean messaging can also lead to being confused and getting ignored. 

Behaviorally-focused messages can be patterned for success. Okay, let's C.L.E.A.R. a message, as designed by Bill Jensen, author of Simplicity and many other books and tools.

The message could be an email, or a multi-part text, or even some meeting notes after the face-to-face. 

  1. For the first sentence or phrase, communicate how the message is CONNECTED to what the recipient does, or wants to be doing, or to accomplish: "Since I know you're working on the ____ project..." When we start this way, we are making the message more relevant, and the recipient more attentive. We are answering the "why do I care?" question. 

  2. The second part is to provide a LIST of actions... It can be a one-item list. Here are the things the recipient could do to realize their goals in Point 1 (see above). It's a very good idea to make this 'list' either a set of steps or a single boldface command. 

  3. Set the EXPECTATIONS. Share what results they can expect from taking action. What does the recipient's success look like? Paint a picture. Say, "if you follow my suggestion, you'll see progress in...." As David Allen would say "what does success feel like?"

  4. Point out the ABILITY of the recipient(s) to achieve their goals. The LIST of actions you provided in step 2 must be things that the recipient is empowered or capable of doing. Remind the recipient they have the power, whether it's formal authority, talent or even just persistence. (If during this step you realize the recipient does not have the capability to execute the list you provided in Point 2, stop and reconsider your message.) 

  5. Close the message by clarifying the RETURN (or ROI: return on investment). Spell out "what's in it for me, as the recipient of this message." Show your faith in their capabilities and how you will rejoice in their success. They need to know they can get what they want. This point is often referred to as the WIIFM: the "What's in it for me?" point.

    In many cases, you should let them know that success is not the only good outcome. If they can explain all the causes and issues that obstructed success, and they know that sharing this information will benefit them, then their shared knowledge may benefit many, many more people. 

This communication model has been invaluable to me over the years. It doesn't always make things happen, but when it doesn't work, I usually end up with clear feedback. And I'm always sure that I'm not wasting my time or someone else's energy. 

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Exercising our loyalty by speaking up

When you have a meaningful relationship, it can be disloyal NOT to speak up.

Seth's Blog: Exit, voice and loyalty, 2018-Apr by Seth Godin

Voice matters.

Loyalty, then, could be defined as the emotion that sways us to speak up when we're tempted to walk away instead.

When your loyal customers speak up, how do you respond? When you have a chance to speak up but walk away instead, what does it cost you? What about those groups you used to be part of? I've had the experience several times where, when my voice ceased to be heard, I decided it was easier to walk away instead.

Voice is an expression of loyalty. Voice is not merely criticism, it might be the contribution of someone who has the option to walk away but doesn't.

In Exit, Voice and Loyalty, Albert Hirschman explains how this overlooked mechanism of the world works. 

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Nice work if we can get it... how affirmative action lifts overall performance

I first came across Adam Galinsky's work when his excellent TED talk "How to speak up for yourself" came out. 

Now he's published an article and video "Are Gender Differences Just Power Differences in Disguise?" As usual, he looks at the issue from several different angles and explains the experiments he used to test his theory as a social psychologist. 

Most importantly, he points out that power and status have a tremendous impact on performance. Feeling less "able" makes us behave less competently, even if we have more ability than we realize. 

He encourages business leaders to improve the overall performance of their companies (and society) by dispersing power across gender and minorities despite the performance gap

...the Women’s Emancipation Index, calculated by the United Nations, can be used to predict the size of the gender performance gap in a country.

More recently, I’ve found this exact same measure can predict not just the performance of female World Cup teams, but also the performance of male teams. Countries that had greater gender quality had higher performing male teams. Why? Because they had better talent. Why? Because more equal treatment of women is associated with more equal treatment of many different types of people.

The conclusion is clear. Many gender differences will be significantly reduced, if not eliminated when — and only when — women have more power. So, we all have an obligation to help this process along, to help women gain opportunities in business, and in politics, and all realms of society. When we do so, it’s not just helping those women, it’s not just giving people role models, it’s literally changing fundamental aspects of the mind, and producing better outcomes for everyone in society.

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