Amy: A dork will always be a dork, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work with him/her.
Here are a couple of examples of how to refocus a conversation:Face it – in the Library World there are many people who are “Black and White.”We live in a world of Gray!1. During the course of our book order meetings it became clear that one member of the group had very conservative political views. At one point she became exasperated and expressed that she felt like she was being badgered. At that point it became a personal challenge to “make room” for her views in the room.2. A colleague in our Marketing Department has very long lead time which don’t mesh well with my “just in time” planning. We were at complete logger-heads until I spent more time in her department & began to understand the production pressures she’s under. Now I completely respect her deadlines & expect my direct reports to as well.3. A cataloger was completely at odds with the staff. We didn’t understand her or her choices; she thought we were being unreasonable in our expectations and demands. During a time of short-staffing she was assigned to our reference desk for 1 afternoon per week. Over time, we really broke down barriers and achieved greater understanding.
Get some perspective on these conversations and relationships.Is there a particularly difficult person or situation which you’re facing? Hold that in your mind.Take the long view. You’re going to be working with this person for months if not years. Therefore:Don’t blow up and scream the details of their incompetence from the rooftops! Consider whether you are being perceived equally badly by the other person. How would you want them to approach you about it? Develop face-saving techniques: Give the person the physical and emotional space required to reconsider and reform. Make minor concessions, allow the other person to back away from their view gracefully, focus more on what has been gained than on what has been lost.Just like a transaction with a patron: what is the value of this particular disagreement when measured against the value of retaining their loyalty and patronage for years to come?
Again, we’re not talking about you changing anyone.In my experience, “you can’t tell anybody anything.”These techniques focus on YOU and what you can bring to the situation.Meditation and Hospice emphasize the benefits of being fully present with yourself and with the other person. The mantra is “Be Here. Be Now.”The aim of this isn’t to be preachy and perfect; it’s to meet that person where they are, achieve a level of honest dialogue, and preserve the relationship going forwardWhile you can’t predict what will be thrown at you; your choice lies in your response. Be the person you want to be. What does best-case execution look like? Do that!
Working with passionate people is wonderful… until the directions those passions lead start to conflict.On a personal level, it is a fantastic idea to have a reliable sounding board to bounce ideas and frustrations at and see what should be pursued.An outside interest can help filter away some of the personal baggage we all carry, and focus on what’s important.
Ok, this comes directly from Emily Post! The 18th edition of her always-popular classic is out – this time with the subtitle: Manners For a New World. Peggy, Anna, Lizzie, & Daniel Post preface this section by saying that you should think carefully before engaging the person. What outcome do you want from the conversation? Once you determine the outcome you can develop a solution to achieve your goal. Then, with a solution in mind, take these 5 steps in seeking a resolution that’s mutually agreeable:Stay Calm; Avoid Anger in Your Actions or Words – If you need to, disengage and calm down before initiating a conversation. Your composure will help to calm the other person as well.Stick to the Facts – As soon as you start using suppositions rather than facts, the other person will perceive the unfairness and the conversation degenerates into a defense of each person’s position instead of advancing toward a solution. It also undermines the credibility of your position.Ask For The Other Person’s Perspective or Opinion – Not only is it important to ask for the other person’s side of the story, it’s important to listen carefully. He may have a valid point you hadn’t considered previously. Propose Your Solution – Be willing to negotiate to find a mutually agreeable solution.Ask For the Other Person’s Buy-In – This is the most important step. Without the person’s buy-in at the end of the conversation, nothing has changed. “Velma, are you okay with this approach?”Here’s what I would add that’s not part of the Post Manifesto: as you’re determining the outcome you want from the conversation, anticipate the negativity. How is that person likely to poke holes in your arguments? Address the major points; be ready for the minor ones.What about the non-verbal aspects of your encounter? Be prepared, practice! (in front of a mirror, with a trusted colleague, etc.)
See Aug. 22 example
Over time, in the years and years you will work with co-workers, people may not always remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel. You can be firm, gracious, and good humored all at the same time. It just takes practice and a certain amount of introspection.“Stay within the Bounds of Professional Ethics” is another way of saying “Build and Maintain High Levels of Trust.” Are any of you familiar with Steven Covey’s The Speed of Trust or Smart Trust? I strongly recommend you take a look. He argues that an organization moves faster when colleagues trust each other. Because he’s a Covey, everything is numbered. The first wave is all about you and your credibility. The second wave is about your relationships and how to behave yourself out of problems you’ve behaved yourself into. He outlines 13 specific behaviors. It’s challenging, but do-able and satisfying! The third, fourth, and fifth waves pertain to organizational, market, & societal trust. Reading The Speed of Trust would be an excellent next step if you are inspired to take this further.Amy, do you want to talk about facilitation skills at this point?
Clerk who repeatedly does Shelvers’ work – messes up their work day
Colby and his treats. We must reward the behaviors we wish to see repeated, no matter how much the individual is driving us crazy.
Rather than just reacting…
Every system has a limited number of good committee leaders, use them wisely.
No one gets to “sit and watch” and/or hold the process hostage
If decision has been made, say so.
“gift” example: Cataloger got department clerks to help with flow
Christine LaGarde of the IMF…
Commando Diplomacy:Building Skills and Tolerance for Having Difficult Conversations and Making Real Progress
Commando DiplomacyBuilding Skills and Tolerance for Having Difficult Conversations and Making Real Progress By Meg Delaney and Amy Hartman Toledo-Lucas County Public Library
Says WHO? Meg: Main Library Manager ◦ Covering things we can do as individuals Amy: Collection Development Librarian, Union Negotiator, Facilitator ◦ Covering things we can do as part of a group
What can we do? Fixing other people? Understanding our own issues Keeping expectations realistic Confronting (productively!) rather than avoiding
Refocus ConversationForward Move toward results Try not to move backward toward ◦ Real slights ◦ Perceived slights
Taking the Long View The secret of a drama-free work life Treat others as you’d like to be treated Face-saving techniques Remember: We are each other’s patrons
Success Lives Within Being fully present Achieving honest dialog, preserving relationship going forward Choosing your response Visualize success
Have a Mentor/Ventor Joys of working with passionate people… Filter/siphon off unproductive feelings ◦ Personally and Professionally Keep focused on the real issues
Mapping conversation forsuccess Preparation for calming a tense situation ◦ Stay calm; avoid anger in your actions or words ◦ Stick to the facts ◦ Ask for the other person’s perspective or opinion ◦ Propose your solution ◦ Ask for the other person’s buy-in
Prep for a One-on-OneMeetingNotes for a meeting :• My critical needs in this meeting period:• What’s new:• Status on continuing projects:• How can I help you?• My own professional development:
Expanding sphere ofinfluence Maintain common sense etiquette Stay w/in bounds of professional ethics Rely on facilitation skills Stay above the fray/Objectivity ◦ 5,000 feet ◦ Congruence with values/beliefs ◦ Avoiding the “gotcha”s
Putting it together :Preparation The Clerk/Shelver ◦ Before conversation Map facts Get Supervisor on Board Anticipate and prepare for negativity Have the conversation Share proposed solution w/ other appropriate staff for buy-in
Putting it Together: the Event Clerk/Shelver ◦ Actual Conversation Who should be there? Where should it happen? Follow “Script”
Putting it Together: Follow-up Clerk/Shelver ◦ Post-conversation Give and get feedback “Test case” – what can be tweaked? Catch good habits, praise and encouragement for job well done
Complainer Acknowledge w/o agreement ◦ “I hear what you’re saying” Appreciation ◦ Value in their contribution ◦ Reassure them of your confidence in them and their capacity to develop
Cynic Show interest in their area of expertise ◦ Praise novel thinking Express confidence in their abilities ◦ Invite them to share wisdom and experience ◦ Honor them for welcoming the ideas of others
Controller Honor their initiative and their desire to do the right thing Demonstrate delegation and share benefits of empowering others Make boundaries clear
Caretaker Commend projects completed in a timely manner, tough decisions made, or specific boundaries they’ve observed Let them feel connected, graciously receive their praise State how much you appreciate when they set boundaries and make tough decisions.
Handling Emotion Acknowledge & avoid ridicule/judgment Take a break Sometimes, venting can be useful ◦ System-wide forums for Big Issues
Magic Formula 2+1+1 ◦ Two positive comments Plus ◦ One “difficult” issue Plus ◦ One positive follow-up
Dealing with Larger Groups The uses and abuses of committees Role of group leaders ◦ Focus on task ◦ Encourage participation ◦ Keep track of duties/results
Preparing for DifficultMeetings Clear Agenda Timeframes? Agree to Norms and Guidelines: One meeting – keep on track Agree to Disagree – beware of interpretation/attack Participate openly and honestly Dignity, Respect, Confidentiality Hanging issues/Parking lot
Ideal Behaviors to AgreeUpon Talk Straight/Create Transparency Demonstrate Respect and Loyalty Confront Reality Practice Accountability and keep commitments
How to Map a Meeting forSuccess Give a face-saving out ◦ Avoid righteous indignation, no matter how smugly satisfying Balance a difficult request with a “gift” – support you can offer to get the outcome you want Anticipate negativity or contrary points of view
Chart Whole group can see ideas Removes personal “ownership” Seeing angry words can help diffuse Focuses attention Action items & responsibilities clear for all to see.
Consensus Point of maximum agreement so that action can follow. Buy-in and support are essential for successful implementation of any plan
Consensus is best when: The solution is not obvious The solution impacts more than one person Time is available for thoughtful discussion Commitment to the solution is important
The Numbers BehindConsensus 70% Comfort Level ◦ Level at which all members “comfortable” Can agree for the most part w/ decision no serious disagreement ◦ 70% agreeable,100% committed Even if the decision isn’t exactly what one would choose, all will support it with positive communications/actions
Benefits of AchievingConsensus Process was fair Understand decision criteria Opportunity to be heard “No” is okay, but alternatives must be identified/explored Conflict can be healthy, Q-TIP
Before leaving a meeting Recap, noting what was covered, action items, assigned responsibility, time frames/deadlines posted where all can see and agree on. Celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small (beware irony/cynicism)