Learn to spar with your team: Sparring is where they can grill you - hold you accountable, but not in a way that causes injury. It is very different from the long, slow dinner. It can/will be heated, but both parties need to understand the goal is improvement, learning, etc.
In sparring, your partners should take you out of your comfort zone.
Sparring is also used to inject urgency into the process. There better not be “elephants” in the room. It shows a lack of candor.
If you don’t find yourself sparring with your advisors, question their commitment.
If you’re giving advice, is it to serve the other person’s interests? Are you trying to win (you better not be)? Does he know you have his interests at heart (i.e. does he feel safe)?
At times sparring will hurt. It is not perfect.
The goal is for both of you to argue at a better place. The goal is not to win the argument.
Owning The Process
You own the input (explaining your situation), the execution and the outcomes.
The Receiver Owns The Process And The Inputs
It’s up to the receiver to analyze it and make the final decision.
Don’t Pull Any Punches
It can get heated and brusque. Or with loud voices. Keep the purpose in mind.
Leave Ample Time For Thoughtful Listening
Don’t interrupt. Engage in active listening: Repeat back what the person just said.
The Four R’s Of Listening
- Removed listening is when you’re multitasking (not listening properly).
- Reactive listening: Listening well enough to respond to queries, but not really mulling over it.
- Responsible listening: Can reply with further action or elaboration. Minimum for good conversation.
- Receptive listening: Empathizing with the other person and feeling what they’re feeling. This is the level needed in sparring.
Formalizing The Process
- Clarify the issue: Describe the goal or the desired behavior.
- Ask for a reality check: Ensure everyone is on the same page about the issue. Do they need more information?
- Evaluate the issue: Partner asks the big questions (Where will this take you?) Then work down to the details. Decides if they disagree. If not, reexamine the problem. Collaborative agreement is the goal, not compromise.
- Review, restate, and refine the goal. Thank everyone.
Good Questions To Ask
- Why do you want to go there?
- What is the motivation for achieving your goal?
- What are the potential pitfalls and downsides? Do you have a contingency plan?
- What thought process got you to this decision?