Tough Conversations Made Easy with Courtesy and Results Part 1

The Following excerpt is content from John Cameron’s upcoming book 

              Tough Conversations Made Easy with Courtesy and Results

  

                                                       © John A. Cameron, 2016

 

This book is dedicated to many people. I thank my parents who taught me to love to read by their example. I thank my daughter Kristense, who shares my love of language and acts as if me writing good books is a foregone conclusion. To my wife, Susan, for her help formatting this book and designing the cover, I give many thanks. To my too many clients and friends to name who asked, ‘When are you going to write a book on this stuff?’ I thank you.

I give a hearty thanks to the sergeant from the 1st of the 509th Airborne Battalion Combat team who taught me that consistency is a big part of leadership. It doesn’t matter if you are a prickly pear or soft kitty-just make sure you are consistent in your ways. Sorry I can’t remember the sergeant’s name. It’s been a lot of years. To all the folks I managed and lead over the years, first as a fire-team leader in the Seventh Infantry Division, then in corporate America-I thank you. I learned a whole lot more from you than you learned from me. Thank you to the best boss I ever had. His name is Bill Carmen. Bill led from such a quiet, confident place that I worked for him for years before I realized how good he was at his job.

Thank you to that unnamed, brilliant and well-educated boss who taught me all the things not to do as a leader. Thank you to the thousands of people who have attended my workshops and classes over the years. Thank you for your support, kind words, and help in honing my skills and delivery and perfecting many of the processes in this book. Thank you to the youth and staff of the Center for Multicultural Cooperation for letting me help and, in so doing, learn.

Thank you to Terri Kanefield who led the first writer’s workshop I every attended. This was a workshop focused on fiction. Terri looked at my work and said, and I paraphrase because it has been a lot of years:

John, the writing is good, you just need to run it through your keyboard a few more times.

Terri said what she said in such a matter-of-fact way. She made sure I knew writing was rewriting. If I wanted to be serious about writing, I would think nothing of putting a hundred thousand words through the keyboard a few more times to make a book better.

Thank you for reading this. I assure you Tough Conversations Made Easy with Courtesy and Results had been through the keyboard a few more times.

ABOUT JOHN

John A. Cameron is a writer, fitness model, speaker, consultant and trainer in sales, leadership, management, and project management.  He was born in California and lived in four US states and Germany as the child of a career soldier.  He followed in his father’s footsteps and spent time as a an Airborne soldier in the 1st of the 509th Airborne Combat Team and the Seventh Infantry Division

John left the military and earned  a business degree with his GI bill.  He worked as a stockbroker in Carmel and Sacramento before moving into advertising.    Growing teams he led produced 37 quarters in a row of sales growth compared to the same quarter previous year.

He left corporate life and launched consulting and training businesses.  Through consulting, speaking, training and resources, he helps honorable teams and leaders own the skills, plan and courage to do what they must do to increase the wealth of their clients, organizations and themselves.

His hikes in wild places and runs by the American River provide him with time to think and inspiration. Local coffee houses provide him with the caffein and energy to write. John, his beautiful and talented English wife Susan and their two extremely spoiled dogs-a beagle named Rutabaga (Rudy) and cattle dog Mollie live next to the American River in Sacramento, California. His wonderful daughter Kristense lives in the Bay Area.

 

Table of Contents

Why This Course?……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 4

How To Use This Course…………………………………………………………………………………………….. 6

MODULE 1: Setting Expectations………………………………………………………………………………….. 8

MODULE 2: Persuasive Conversations………………………………………………………………………. 22

Module 3 Ask For and Get What You Want and Need……………………………………………….. 41

MODULE 4: Say No and Make it Stick Without Stepping on Toes………………………………. 53

MODULE 5: Give Instructions That are Understood and Carried Out………………………. 62

MODULE 6: Master a Powerful Way to Deal With Issues in a Timely Manner or Crushing Baby Godzillas    73

MODULE 8: Practice Consistent Behavior-The hidden key to success:………………….. 107

MODULE 9: Avoid toxic words and phrases that kill commitment and relationships. Use words and phrases to create trust, confidence and action………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 121

MODULE 10: Meetings:   Tips, Tools, and Techniques that work:…………………………… 133

Suggested Reading…………………………………………………………………………………………………… 149

 

 

Why This Course?

 

  1. How many times have you had a gentle, yet firm, conversation thinking you made your point clearly? You found out later the other person didn’t have a clue about what you were trying to say.

 

  1. How often have you had people assure you they would get right on something and nothing ever happened?

 

  1. How many times have you hesitated to intervene about a behavior because it didn’t seem serous enough to warrant a counseling conversation? By the time you did intervene, the behavior had become a habit.

 

  1. How many times have you been unable to listen to someone who had valuable information or influence or, even worse, a valued employee or loved relative? When you looked deep within yourself, you discovered your resistance was because you didn’t like them, they rubbed you the wrong way, or you were sure you had nothing in common with them.

 

  1. What did it feel like to be absolutely sure you could help someone with a problem that would make a real difference in their lives, and be unable to persuade them to look at your possible solution, much less adopt the solution?

 

  1. How often did you watch someone destroy their lives or career or family and feel disheartened because you were unable to help that someone stop their self-destructive behavior?

 

  1. How many times have you seen someone try something new and make great progress, and you were too busy to stop and tell them ‘Great Job!’ ? You meant to congratulate them on their success and didn’t get around to it, because you thought correcting other’s ‘bad’ behaviors was more important. When you finally look for them to thank them or tell them what a great job they did, they are no longer around.

 

  1. What did it feel like the last time you had what you thought was a firm and polite talk with someone and they became angry or shut down or complained about the way you talked to them? Did this happen because the other person took the conversation as a personal attack and not an attempt to help?

 

  1. How often have you wanted to say ‘no’ but for some reason said ‘Yes!’ and instantly regretted it, knowing your plate was already too full? Or, when you did say no, you said it in such a way that you burned a valuable bridge?

 

  1. How many of you don’t realize saying ‘No’ is your right and sometimes your duty?

 

  1. What does it feel like to be constantly frustrated? You didn’t know about what, but when you thought about it later it, was because you didn’t know how to ask for what you wanted in a powerful and courteous way. What’s even worse for some of you is that you don’t even know that it is your right to ask for what you want and need.

 

  1. How many times did your lack of skill, will and comfort in these areas keep you from accomplishing your mission?

 

These are just a few of the reasons I created this book and course. It is possible to have meaningful conversations in a courteous way that lead to understanding, courage and results. I wrote this book to help you gain the skills and the courage to act.

 

When you look through the table of contents you will see a module on setting expectations, one on meetings, and another on listening. How are these conversations, and how can they be tough? Many of us spend a big part of our lives in meetings. Just because these conversations are with a group of people doesn’t make them any less a conversation. Just because these conversations are with a group, it certainly doesn’t make them any less important, or any less tough.

 

Is not listening the most important part of any conversation? Didn’t Steven Covey say, ‘First strive to understand and then strive to be understood?’

 

Lastly and perhaps most importantly, aren’t expectations you set for someone with your facial expressions, body language, tone of voice, choice of clothing, jewelry, bathing habits, and choice of words some of the most influential conversations you will ever have?

 

 

 

How To Use This Course

 

The best way to use this course is to work through the material with a group of people, holding each other accountable. If you are taking this course on your own, you will still receive tremendous benefit. Please find an accountability buddy to discuss and share information with. If you can, find someone who is willing to learn and will benefit by you teaching them the principals and processes learned in this course. One of the best ways to learn is to teach. For real expertise, follow the medical school model-observe, do, and then teach. How many times have you thought you knew how to do something, prepared to teach it to someone and realized you had holes in your mastery?

This course is designed to help you learn tools and processes you can use in many different situations. These skills are useful at work, in school, in your home life, and among friends. Any new skill, especially a soft-skill used with people, needs to be practiced. One of the best ways to practice a soft-skill is the same way actors practice a play. They rehearse. At first actors rehearse reading their lines. Eventually the actor becomes good enough to act without using a script. In the theatre this is called being off book.

 

For some reason the same process is called role-playing in the business world. Some of you will be very comfortable using role-play or rehearsal with a group of people. Some of you would rather face a firing squad than become part of a role-play or rehearsal in a group setting. Here is good news for all of you: accurate mental rehearsal has 75% of the value of actual practice or rehearsal. This means that accurate mental rehearsal is practice.

 

This is how I would like you to think of practice. Practice makes permanent.   Perfect practice makes perfect. The more realistically you practice, whether with another person or on your own through accurate mental rehearsal, or with a combination of the two, the more you will master process. And, just like practicing your golf stroke or rehearsing your singing, the more time you spend practicing well, accurately mentally rehearsing well, the more perfect and comfortable your skills become.  Eventually you will be ‘off book’ as well. In the real world this is called ‘ready.’

 

Remember school? Some of you might still be in school. If you wanted a C you would sit in on the lecture and take marginal notes. Sometimes you could even skip reading the material. If you wanted a B, you would take good notes in the lecture hall, read the material a few times and do the exercises. If you wanted the A, you would attend the lectures, take notes, rewrite your lecture notes, go over the material and takes notes on the material, do the exercises and take practice tests. Do you want an A in Tough Conversations Made Easy with Courtesy and Results, or, do you want a B or a C? The choice is yours.

 

Like all new skills, or change in old skills, you will be uncomfortable at first. Changing any habit is uncomfortable. Any of you who have quit smoking or stopped using credit cards or started an exercise program surely know this.

 

Like any other learning process you will move through stages. Most learning scholars say there are four stages of learning a new skill.

 

  • Unconscious incompetence
  • Conscious incompetence
  • Conscious competence and, finally
  • Unconscious competence

Being a little uncomfortable can be a wonderful thing.

Peter McWilliams said,

Be willing to be uncomfortable. Be comfortable being uncomfortable. It may get tough, but it’s a small price to pay for living a dream.

I would like you all to add a fifth level of competence. In Dr. Daniel Kahneman’s book Thinking fast and Slow he calls this System Two competence. One of the most valuable readings, if a little dry, in the suggested reading list at the end of this book, is Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow. I would like you to think of this level of competence as mindful competence.

Mindful competence means that you don’t go with your gut, or your habit. Your mind normally takes the easiest route automatically, not the best. The fourth level, unconscious competence is fine for a golf swing, or swimming stroke, because the ball does not have a mind of its own. The ball does not change in mid flight. The people you deal with in your tough conversations do change in mid flight. This means your response must be grounded in practice so that you are comfortable and reasoned. Sometimes, many times, for real effectiveness and expertise, we have to stop our minds from taking the easy way and force them to take the hard way.

 

Your new stages of mastery would then be:

 

  • Unconscious incompetence
  • Conscious incompetence
  • Conscious competence and, finally
  • Unconscious competence
  • Mindful competence

 

 

 

 

About jcameron

People don't avoid tough conversations or tough actions because they are stupid or or lazy or don't care. People don't take on the tough things because they aren't confident and comfortable with a process to take them on. Confidence builds courage and courage leads to action. Through consulting, speaking, training and resources, using humor and great process, John Cameron helps teams and leaders own the skills, the plan and the courage to do what they must do to increase the wealth of their clients, themselves and their organizations. Before he became an energetic and powerful speaker and trainer, John Cameron was a proud member of the 1st of the 509th Airborne Battalion Combat team. After military service, he earned a business degree and worked as a stockbroker in Carmel and Sacramento, California.  John moved into the advertising field, leading his growing sales teams to 37 uninterrupted quarters of growth. During three of those quarters he was project manager during replacement of a legacy advertising system. While managing the project he led his team to double digit growth and found savings of $750K a year-without sacrificing people! When he became a speaker and trainer, John already possessed a wealth of life and workplace experiences to draw upon for his presentations. Add to this John's experience as a top trainer for major national training orgainizations and the result is consulting, training and speaking filled with strategies and techniques that have been tested and proven to work in the real world.
This entry was posted in Communications, Content from Tough Conversations Made Easy with Courtesy and Results, Leadership, Management, Supervision. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge