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BoS2015 Paul Kenny - Difficult Conversations


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As businesses mature, the nature of their problems change. Gone are the days when the founders have to do everything. Teams deliver on everything from Engineering, Sales, Marketing, HR, Finance, Investor Relations, New Product Development so no one has a true picture of the organization. Running a growth business requires different people and skills to make it work. By the time a company is large, mature, profitable, cash and profit rich, the problems change again – how do you find the ‘next thing’ or stop the inevitable decline of the empire? Paul considers how you manage the conflicts that inevitably rise as businesses grow and become successful. How can you manage conflicting incentives and priorities across departments? What happens if you fall out with your founders? How can you nurture a new generation of leaders within a business that will be capable of taking the business to the next level? How can you re-energise an organisation that is running efficiently in order that you don’t miss out on the next wave of growth? Paul will share practical insights into how you manage the often difficult conversations that such change requires.

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BoS2015 Paul Kenny - Difficult Conversations

  1. 1. Welcome Back Please move seats so that you are sitting with people other than those you work with. Thank you!
  2. 2. Difficult Conversations Paul Kenny
  4. 4. So what makes a conversation difficult?
  5. 5. What makes a conversation difficult ? Standards Impediments to progress Perspective (clash of) Emotionally difficult to process Ego depleting
  6. 6. Perceived lack of effort Promises Priorities Performance & Reward Technical Differences Zones Of Control Unpopular Tasks
  7. 7. Perceived lack of effort Promises Priorities Performance Technical Differences Zones Of Control Unpopular Tasks Customer Demands Work Style Stress Personal Loyalties Opinions Clash of egos
  8. 8. The web of human interactions in your business is the most complex issue you will face. The answers to all your product and customer issues begin here.
  9. 9. “Coding is the easy part”
  10. 10. Why difficult conversations will define your business
  11. 11. Guns‘N Roses
  12. 12. The Rolling Stones
  13. 13. “It was the beginning of the ‘80s when Mick started to become unbearable” Keith Richards “Life”
  14. 14. Difficult Conversations can help to avoid common start up failures Fortune 2014
  15. 15. The Fish “The fish always rots from the brain” Eastern European Proverb
  16. 16. Molehills become mountains…….. People really do make mountains of molehills
  17. 17. Unspoken conversations, the situation rarely gets better it just gets later…
  18. 18. Unresolved issues divide staff and create cliques
  19. 19. But it’s not just about avoiding the bad stuff
  20. 20. Zone Of Uncomfortable Debate
  21. 21. Everything was fine but now it’s not….. 2009 2012 2013
  22. 22. Difficult Conversations are often a “Leadership Moment”
  23. 23. Why we fail to have the right conversation
  24. 24. Task Process
  25. 25. Our colleagues are our friends
  26. 26. Time TIME TALENT
  27. 27. Emotion Logic
  28. 28. So what to do? The big list of tactics for difficult conversations
  29. 29. 1. Develop Perspective
  30. 30. Below The Line Wisdom Sage Stress Warrior Creativity Magician Balance Steward Clarity Visionary Anxiety Politician Fear Casualty 2. Be aware of your state
  31. 31. 3. Always have the conversation (never procrastinate)
  32. 32. 4. Remember you can only change behaviors
  33. 33. 5. Take responsibility for your perception and your feelings What I noticed What I believe How I feel
  34. 34. A Friendly Word! • Behaviour • Consequences • Options • Next Steps
  35. 35. 6. Create team rules
  36. 36. 7. Find Interesting new ways to address contentious issues
  37. 37. 8. Make process reviews as regular as progress reviews
  38. 38. 9. Don’t be afraid to ask a third party to help
  39. 39. 10. Stay adaptable (position vs. principle) Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. -- Winston Churchill