Reap Your Rewards

There's nothing better than achieving your goals, whatever they might be.”
- Paloma Faith

“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don't adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.”
- Confucius

All of you who have been experimenting and engaging in important conversations know that you can have a great conversation and then nothing changes as a result. This week's blog post focuses on how to complete a conversation in a way that maximizes the likelihood that actions will get implemented.

There are three steps to this model of maximizing success and creating closure.
Step one is capturing agreements and actions as well as who will do what when and how it will be communicated back. Step two is gaining clarity about any next steps that are not part of the actions and agreements. Step three is expressing gratitude. For this, we will use the practice of giving a GIFT.

Step 1: Capturing Agreements and Actions

  1. To do this well, it is best that you record it on paper or digitally. I like to use an excel spreadsheet.
  2. Keep a list of agreements and the date that the agreement was made. Make sure that all those involved agree with what is written and what that means. This is crucial since language is understood differently by various folks.
  3. Keep a list of actions with the point of contact (who will do it or coordinate the effort), the date the action was assigned, what the action is, a start date, a completion date, others involved in the effort, and notes.
  4. Make sure that everyone agrees with what is recorded.
  5. Make the agreement that if anything changes, the POC (point of contact) will communicate with the other(s) or the team to renegotiate whatever has to change. This could be the scope of the task, the timeline associated with it, etc. Most importantly, it is crucial to maintain trust that an agreement is made that says that changes are done with the group in which the agreement was first made—not the date something is due.

Step 2: Clarifying Next Steps

  1. After reviewing the agreements and actions, pose a question that asks, “Are there any other next steps that we want to agree to?” That will bring all kinds of things out on the table that didn't get raised earlier, such as who will we communicate with, What message do we want to communicate, When will we have our next meeting, is there anything we need to arrange before our next meeting, and the like.
  2. I recommend that these agreements about next steps get captured on your action tracking spread sheet.

Step 3: Expressing Gratitude

The easiest way to achieve this is to give a gift:

  • Express Gratitude for what you and the other discussed and how you did it.
  • Tell the other person why this conversation and the relationships is Important to you.
  • Express your Feelings about the other and about the conversation.
  • Tell them your Thinking about how this will help the relationship move forward.

Your GIFT might take 30 seconds and sound like this: “I'm so grateful that we had this conversation. I appreciate your attitude and our ability to work through this difficult issue. Our relationship is important to me. I am delighted that we are both committed to working things out. I think this is going to help the team immensely. Thanks.”

It is a great way to end any conversation. The more you practice the GIFT, the more you will find that you use it throughout the day in all kinds of interactions. It is an easy way to create sparkle in a relationship.

Write in with your successes no matter how small as well as your challenges. Enjoy the journey as you go.

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