The role of conversation in change

As I have been moving into a new position in a new organization, I have been considering the role of conversation in creating positive partnerships. My role is leadership development and as I work with a team of 95 leaders, the frequency, tone, and content of the conversations that I have with my team creates the relationship that I have going forward. Needless to say, trust and rapport is the cornerstone of these relationships and trust and rapport will not happen without conversation.

I have noticed that it is very easy for both me and my internal customers to focus on tasks and forget that the power of leadership comes from being in conversation. Executing tasks is important but will not create a world class organization. So much of my work is involved in creating conversations around questions that drive performance improvement. The relationships that my leadership team have with their team members and the quality of their conversations determine the performance of their operating units. There is a direct relationship between the quality of conversations and the performance and sustainable of performance of the operating unit. Those in leadership who shy away from conversations struggle in performance where those who are in continuous conversation with their team members, have reduced attrition and higher performance.

So the notion that I am exploring is how to reinforce conversation as a leadership practice. How do we create the rewards, feedback loops, and reinforcement that will not only encourage conversation as a leadership practice, but insure that it is happening? My work in the near future will be focused on driving conversation into our culture with the intent to create sustainable performance improvement and substantially reduce attrition of our quality team members.

2 replies
  1. Wetherhaven
    Wetherhaven says:

    Any work by Margaret Wheatley is a good start. Try Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future
    by Margaret J. Wheatley. Conversational Learning: An Experiential Approach to Knowledge Creation
    by Ann C. Baker,Patricia J. Jensen,David A. Kolb is an excellent treatment of conversation and learning. Not a light read.

    You are welcome to read my white paper on conversation: http://www.wetherhaven.com/~portfolio/documents/todancetogether.PDF

    Thank you so much for visiting my blog and I wish you the very best in your quest to create meaningful conversations.

    Your friend John

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