Collaborative Conversations Are Not Just For The Boardroom
Making innovative and collaborative conversations a daily occurrence.
Why do some of the greatest ideas start on a napkin? Yes, beyond popular belief, innovative conversations are not limited to the boardroom. Innovation and collaboration development is not an event – instead they should be a way of being. But how do you create that way of being during your daily life?
Creating Collaborative Conversations Every Day
Let’s talk about it. The challenge is in making a commitment to yourself to change your conversation so that you begin to experience a new level of connection – personally and professionally.
The difficulty lies in shifting from being a problem-solver, to being a catalyst for awesomeness. Your role is to bring out the awesomeness in others.
In collaborative conversations, you free your problem-solver and tap into your inner change-agent. Your primary goal is to challenge the thinking of the person in front of you, so that they feel liberated enough to discover and design new possibilities.
When we engage in these conversations on a regular basis, a culture of creativity and continuous improvement emerges. This is the change-agent’s language an attribute of a change leadership.
Go From Problem Solver to Change Agent
The beauty is, there is a natural flow within these conversations. Follow these five steps to make the shift. You’ll start to see your team transform and your business grow.
- Be present. Give your full attention to the person in the conversation. Your value is not based on you solving the problem. It is your gift to help them unleash the possibility for themselves. By letting go of thoughts about the future, aka anxiety, and thoughts about the past, aka worry, you are more easily able to live in the present. This allows you to see, hear, feel and connect. Being present says, “You are the most important person to me right here and right now.”
- Listen authentically. When you are present, you become a great listener. Listen beyond the words being said to the energy and emotion that exist behind it. Then, call it out for the person in front of you. For example, “Wow, you sound excited!” Or, “Ouch, you seem frustrated.”
- Be curious. Powerful questions challenge thinking, and now is the time to get curious and ask those questions. When you ask questions without needing to solve problems, these questions will come naturally, and you will become a catalyst for awesomeness. Never ask a question to which you already know the answer. That is leading the witness, and it feels dishonest.
- Respond with purpose. Choose a response that expands upon and builds up their idea. Be the conversation catalyst that keeps them thinking bigger, greater and broader. For example, “Yes, and …” Or, “What I like about that is…” “Wouldn’t it be cool if…”
- Request an action. Don’t leave them hanging in that creative space. Create accountability by helping them establish a clear path forward – without telling them what to do. Notice I used the word “request.” That means your wisdom needs to come in the form of a question. For example, “What is your next step to make this happen?” “When will you act on this?” “What can I do to support you?” “How will you let me know this is successful for you?”
All change starts with self. However, sustainable change is created by accountability. So, share this blog with your team and open the door for discussion. Give permission to catch yourself – and each other – during the conversation. I recommend a playful approach: “Can you invite the change-agent to the conversation?” Or, “Mr. Problem-Solver is hard at work.”
As always, I invite you to bring this same conversation into your personal life. You will be amazed at what opens in your relationships.