How can I lead in addressing complex challenges?
The immediacy of a crisis makes it tempting to roll up our sleeves and work harder. But some problems are “wicked” — without clear starting and ending points, crossing social and conceptual boundaries — and require unconventional strategies. (more…)
What’s the best way to give effective feedback to colleagues?
One of the most critical elements of a human resource system is the evaluation system for employees. There are many different formats for such a system, but the heart of each is offering feedback on performance.
Effective feedback names the specific situation in which the behavior was observed; names the observable actions or words; and describes the impact that behavior had on the observer. In addition, effective feedback anchors the feedback in time and place and helps the person receiving the feedback understand the impact.
How do I evaluate our programs? I want to be sure they are in line with our mission and are having the impact we want them to have.
Developing a habit of reflection is critical to ongoing evaluation. Asking three simple questions at the beginning, middle and end of a project builds the habit:
- What do you appreciate about this project?
- What do you regret about what is happening?
- What do you hope to be different?
With this habit in place, the more difficult questions that clarify the mission of the organization and map the alignment of services to that mission are easier. The most challenging evaluation is a reflection on impact. It takes time to understand impact, but a focus on such results leads to valuable learning that informs the next generation of experiments.
How can I make sure that difficult conversations are productive?
We call them “crucial conversations” — the conversations we avoid but know that we should have. The stakes are high, emotions run strong, and opinions vary. Effective conversations invite both parties into a shared space or “pool of shared meaning,” in order to engage in open and honest dialogue. In effective crucial conversations, we tell our stories and invite others to do the same.