Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Courageous Authentic Conversations

Courageous Authentic Conversations
The following notes contain material appropriate for passionate leaders who are serious about implementing change, starting with themselves!

The notes are based on a presentation I was asked to do for 200 Personnel Practitioners at the 29th IMPSA (Institute of Municipal Personnel Practitioners) International Conference at Fancourt.

When there are complains about service delivery, it is time for HR practitioners also to do some soul searching. They need to ask honestly whether they contribute to the problems experienced and whether they have the best available people employed in the Municipality. People are vital to every aspect of service delivery and the HR function needs a sound strategy to provide services that significantly enhance the value of this critical resource. One way of achieving this would be to put the seven courageous conversations in place. To have these courageous and crucial conversations you need to be honest, sincere and relevant. Avoided, insincere and dishonest conversations are costly in terms of morale, engagement and ultimately performance. HR has to move away from just the bread-and-butter issues and focus on the strategic issues helping them to be relevant and play a vital role in service delivery in Local Government.
A Municipality should never be the employer of last resort, but an institution of service excellence.

So what are these conversations?

1  Conversation One: Understanding your design and that of your immediate senior. Use the Career Direct and Personality ID to find out your unique design (your personality, interests, skills and values) and how you fit in. Managers too often manage their staff by their own desires without understanding their design. Why do we have so many personality clashes? I believe simply that we don’t understand each other’s design.  
2  Conversation Two: Character plus competency = Consistency. 
Demonstrate your trustworthiness by putting character first. You can benefit by doing a character self- and team assessments.
3  Conversation Three: GPS alignment.    
What is the vision for the future? What is your strategy? How will the strategic vision be accomplished? What are the organisation's objectives? What needs to be done to keep moving in the strategic direction? What are the critical success factors? Where should the focus be to achieve the vision? Which metrics will indicate that you are successfully pursuing your vision and strategy? How many metrics should you have? (Enough, but not too many!) How often should you measure? Who is accountable for the metrics? How do you ensure the metrics reflect strategic drivers for organisational success?
4.    Conversation Four: Real-time fine-tuning.
Talk about performance, frustration, conflict and anger, 360 performance review, power of eyeball sessions, energy wasters, energy takers and energy givers, top-line enablers,o must-have’s, and bottom-line disablers. Also do the Psychological Contract and learn how to manage upwards. Sit down with your immediate senior and discuss the following: What do you expect from me as your manager/supervisor/leader? What role do you see for yourself relative to the rest of your team? How does our organisation's culture fit in with your values? What makes you want to 'give your all,' and work really hard for your team and your organisation? Which aspects of work give you the most satisfaction?
5  Conversation Five: EQ heartbeat conversation.
6. Conversation Six: This is all about career success and family excellence. Can you merge the two?
7. Conversation Seven: Finish well and strong and move from success to significance.
§   Is there more to life than my current situation?
§   What do I consider eternally significant?
§   What on earth would give my life meaning?
§   How much (stuff, money, advancement) is enough?
§   What are my greatest strengths and core values?
§   What am I really passionate about?
§   What makes me come alive? What is my calling in life?
§   What is my personal mission statement?
§   Based on the work I have done so far, what is my highest and best contribution?
§   Who can help me make sense out of this time of life?
§   How will I leave a legacy?  

Become more real and less artificial in all your courageous conversations. It is not too late to start.
Dr Mario Denton (MBA, MeCon, PhD) uses his strong academic and corporate background and his uniquely effective coaching skills to help organisations tap into their potential to make a difference in the workplace. You can contact him at marden@mweb.co.za; www.thestrongmessage.com.

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