EVEN WHEN THE ATTENDEES BELIEVE THEY
HAVE ARRIVED AT AN UNDERSTANDING,
VERY FEW PEOPLE ARE RIGOROUS IN SETTING
OUT WHAT EACH HAS AGREED TO DO, HOW
AND WHEN. YOU WANT TO ADDRESS ANY
RESERVATIONS UPFRONT AND NOT LEAVE
THE MEETING WITH FALSE HOPE THAT WILL
LATER CAUSE RESENTMENT OR DISTRUST.
Illustration by Merkushev Vasiliy /Shutterstock
How do we get your people to do what they need to in order to com-ply
with our purchasing process?
2. INSIGHT: WHAT’S IMPORTANT ABOUT THAT?
It’s important that each party communicate their important needs,
wants, concerns and fears, and demonstrate that they are trying to
understand the problem from the other perspective as well.
Ask not only about results, but how the solution should be ar-rived
at and what the issue has come to represent for you. Listen
carefully to how each of you define respectfulness, legitimacy and
3. INTENTION: WHAT DO WE WANT TO ACCOMPLISH?
Explore what it is you each hope to achieve in this conversation.
Once each gains an appreciation of the others’ interests, you may
uncover new and innovative ways to get there.
4. CHOICE: WHAT ARE OUR CHOICES?
How do you each view your options? Sharing your thinking al-lows
you to reframe the situation based on this new information
and may even open new possibilities. It also gives the opportunity
to learn at an emotional/psychological level where the “good rea-son”
lies for the resistance we may be experiencing from the other.
5. CRITERIA: HOW WILL WE CHOOSE?
What are the relevant criteria by which the choices will be eval-uated?
Are your criteria all subjective (your interests)? Consider
whether objective criteria exists (organizational policy, statuto-ry
or industry standards) that ought to guide any decision, and
whether you are taking into account the interests of others in-volved
(their subjective criteria).
An effective problem-solver pays close attention to the criteria
that the other person finds persuasive.
6. COMMITMENT: WHAT ARE WE COMMITTED TO?
Even when the attendees believe they have arrived at an under-standing,
very few people are rigorous in setting out what each has
agreed to do, how and when. You want to address any reservations
upfront and not leave the meeting with false hope that will later
cause resentment or distrust.
Ask, “On a scale of one to 10, how committed are you?” Anything
less than 10 is not a commitment. It is an opportunity to identify
the “yeah, buts” lurking under the surface waiting to torpedo your
agreement. Ask, “What are you willing to commit to?”
7. ACTION: WHAT WILL WE DO?
This is where the conversation moves from, “Well, we could do this
or we could do that,” toward the purposeful, “I will take this step
within this timeframe and I expect to find that you will have done
Within organizations, we are inter-dependent. We rely on oth-ers
to help create the conditions that will allow both our plans to
succeed. Asking, “What help do you need?” invites your partner to
tell you how you can help them to help you.
8. ACCOUNTABILITY: HOW WILL WE TRACK
PROGRESS AND MEASURE RESULTS?
A good accountability structure gives both parties confidence that
what has been agreed will be enacted. It should include a timeline,
a process for tracking and reporting progress and the objective cri-teria
by which success will be evaluated.
A relationship that is accountable and has procedures that dem-onstrate
fairness is inherently stable and demonstrates to outside
stakeholders the value of the work.
50 ❚ MAY/JUNE 2014 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL