What is your Communication Style?

Have you ever had an angry customer that was so impatient that when you tried to walk through a detailed solution to their problem they just wouldn’t listen?  And the more detail you tried to give them the more irritated they became?

While it can be incredibly frustrating to attempt to help someone who’s too impatient to listen to your solution, there is a phrase that will help you mitigate their impatience (and help them listen to your solution).

The phrase, which you must utter before you give them the details of your solution, is “I’m going to solve this for you.”  Now, that’s absurdly simple, but here’s the science behind why this phrase works.

More than 110,000 people have taken the online test “What’s Your Communication Style?” And from that mountain of data we know that there are four core communication styles:

  • The Analytical Communicator likes hard data, real numbers, and tends to be suspicious of people who aren’t in command of the facts and data. They typically like very specific language and dislike vague language.
  • The Functional Communicator likes process, detail, timelines and well-thought-out plans. They like to communicate things in a step-by-step fashion so nothing gets missed.
  • The Personal Communicator values emotional language and connection, and uses that as their mode of discovering what others are really thinking. They find value in assessing not just how people think, but how they feel.
  • The Intuitive Communicator likes the big picture, avoids getting bogged down in details, and cuts right to the chase. They don’t need to hear things in perfect linear order but prefer instead a broad overview that lets them easily skip right to the end point.

The Intuitive communication style, which accounts for about 23% of the population, is the one that concerns us here.  When angered, stressed or frustrated, the Intuitive communication style typically manifests as severe impatience.  They don’t want to hear every little step you’re going to take to solve their issue; they don’t want to hear step A, then step B, then step C, etc.  What they really want is for you to skip all the detail and go right to step Z.

But here’s the twist; if you skip the detail and go right to step Z, there’s a very high probability that they’ll be sufficiently satiated that they’ll now have the patience to go back through steps, A, B, C, etc.  But if you don’t first give them Z, they will never listen to A, B, C, etc.

Imagine you’re a travel agent and you’ve got an impatient angry customer who hates their room.  And in typical Intuitive Communicator fashion, they call you up and simply say “I hate my room!”  Now, you don’t know why they hate their room or any other relevant details.  But if you immediately jump to solving their problem by asking twenty questions, they’re just going to get angry.  When they say “I hate my room!” you can’t move to step A and say “tell me what the problem is…”  Instead, you need to give them step Z.  And in this case, a good step Z is to simply say “I’m going to solve this for you.”

That simple phrase communicates the end point; namely that this is going to be solved.  That’s the end point that Intuitive Communicators want to hear.  Now, once they hear this end point, you can skip back to step A and ask “what’s the problem you’re having with the room?”

You might be asking yourself ‘how do I know this person is an Intuitive Communicator?’  Well, if they were another communication style, they would have communicated that to you.  For example, if you take the communication styles assessment, you might learn that you’re a Functional Communicator.  This is the person who likes process-driven, detailed communication (they want point a, then point b, then point c, etc.).  And if you had gotten an angry call from a Functional Communicator, they would have said “I hate my room, it’s on a low floor and I wanted a high floor, and the view is bad—I wanted to see the ocean, etc.”

Notice how the Functional Communicator just naturally spells out lots of detail?  You don’t have to ask for painstaking detail; they’ll tell you most of what you need to know.  But the Intuitive Communicator doesn’t have the patience (at least initially) to get into all that detail.  They want this problem fixed, and if you can give them the confidence that a fix is forthcoming, they’ll be a lot more accommodating of your requests for additional detail.

Ultimately, this is just one phrase.  But if you assuage the Intuitive Communicator’s impatience and anger at the very beginning of the conversation, you’ll be shocked by how much more agreeable this person can become.

Mark Murphy is the founder of Leadership IQ and author of Truth At Work: The Science Of Delivering Tough Messages.

Forbes:  https://www.forbes.com/sites/markmurphy/2017/12/20/use-this-phrase-to-calm-your-impatient-angry-customers/2/#62159938104e

Conflict Management Styles

Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument

The Thomas Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument is a model for handling conflict.   The model organizes 5 conflict management styles based on two dimensions:    a) assertiveness and b) cooperativeness.


Below  are the five conflict management styles according to his model:

  • Accommodating – This is when you cooperate to a high-degree, and it may be at your own expense, and actually work against your own goals, objectives, and desired outcomes.  This approach is effective when the other party is the expert or has a better solution.  It can also be effective for preserving future relations with the other party.
  • Avoiding –  This is when you simply avoid the issue.  You aren’t helping the other party reach their goals, and you aren’t assertively pursuing your own.  This works when the issue is trivial or when you have no chance of winning.   It can also be effective when the issue would be very costly.  It’s also very effective when the atmosphere is emotionally charged and you need to create some space. Sometimes issues will resolve themselves, but “hope is not a strategy”, and, in general, avoiding is not a good long term strategy.
  • Collaborating – This is where you partner or pair up with the other party to achieve both of your goals.  This is how you break free of the “win-lose” paradigm and seek the “win-win.”  This can be effective for complex scenarios where you need to find a novel solution.  This can also mean re-framing the challenge to create a bigger space and room for everybody’s ideas.  The downside is that it requires a high-degree of trust and reaching a consensus can require a lot of time and effort to get everybody on board and to synthesize all the ideas.
  • Competing – This is the “win-lose” approach.  You act in a very assertive way to achieve your goals, without seeking to cooperate with the other party, and it may be at the expense of the other party.    This approach may be appropriate for emergencies when time is of the essence, or when you need quick, decisive action, and people are aware of and support the approach.
  • Compromising – This is the “lose-lose” scenario where neither party really achieves what they want.  This requires a moderate level of assertiveness and cooperation.  It may be appropriate for scenarios where you need a temporary solution, or where both sides have equally important goals.   The trap is to fall into compromising as an easy way out, when collaborating would produce a better solution.
  • Source:  http://sourcesofinsight.com/conflict-management-styles-at-a-glance/

    Conflict Resolution at Workpalce

    Conflict typically involves differences of opinion, style, approach, or core values that are not easily resolved. These can lead to hurt feelings and altercations among people. Some conflicts are essentially arbitrary, meaning it doesn’t matter who “wins,” only that the problem is resolved so everyone can get back to their routine. But some conflicts reflect real disagreements about how an organization / community should function. If the winner of the conflict happens to be wrong, the organization /community as a whole could suffer. Some conflicts involve bullying or harassment of some kind, in which case a fair resolution must involve attention to justice.

    Examples of Conflict Resolution Skills

    The following skills are often important in conflict resolution.    A third party who has the following skills  – such as mediators, manages, supervisors, and even a HR personnel at the organizations – may want to intervene:

    Source: https://www.thebalance.com/conflict-resolutions-skills-2063739

    Decision Making in Organizations

    Decision making is not a well-defined field. It includes a variety of processes that are all intermediate steps between thought and action. They are the precursors to behavior. They express our ideas into their active consequences in the world. Continue…

    See this great presentation by Jerry Talley:


    Adopting the Most Useful Role

    Role Options
    What would be the strategically most appropriate role in the situation?  Click here for a table suggesting the most likely role for a given type of a meeting.


    Simply gathering information on perspectives, political alliances, issues, language, etc.

    Witness / representative

    Making a statement simply by one’s presence; showing that your constituency is interested and ready to be involved … or least not willing to be left out. Works best if you announce yourself and declare your role on behalf of a constituency.

    • Others in the meeting may assume you are a “representative of Finance” and presume your silence implies support for the discussion. That is, they will assume their budget is acceptable because an MA was in the early meetings.
    • Although it may be a quiet role, it is important that you are clear about the meaning of your attendance, both in your own mind and in the mind of the other group members.
    • Your silence will not be read as neutral. So it is important to clarify that you are not in the room in a decision-making or problem-solving capacity.
    • After the meeting, you may need to update people “back at home” since you were representing them to the meeting. You may have offered an opinion that others need to know about, even if they disagree.


    Reflecting back what people say and feel. Likely to calm an unruly situation by giving people a sense of being understood. May often be a role you adopt as a preamble to taking some other position. For example, it may create a foundation for taking a more active role such as problem solver or advocate. Does not require that you posit your position or preference.

    Process Negotiator

    Role clarification; suggesting a process for handing the task.


    Guiding the interaction of the primary participants; a more neutral role in service of the process.
    Typically requires that you step back from the content.

    Interpreter / Translator

    Translating issues from one domain to another, such as expressing programmatic issues in terms of their financial implications. Providing the broader financial context for more specific discussions. Or clarifying how a program might be viewed from the perspective of its political opponents.

    Coordinator / Project Manager

    Ensuring everyone on a project team understands their task assignments, deliverables, and due dates. Keeping the team “on schedule and within budget”. Watching for potential conflicts or unseen interdependencies. Representing the project to the upper layers of the agency.

    Informer / Reporter / Educator

    Providing information to the group. Presumes some expertise or experience that the rest of the group does not have.

    Assessor / Evaluator / Investigator / Problem Solver

    Using analytical or critical thinking skills to unravel a situation. May be applied to the agenda itself, or to the process proposed, or to the topic of the meeting.

    • Might be wondering if the problem presented is, in fact, the right problem.
    • May play “Colombo”, posing a question or claiming confusion to draw someone out.
    • May often push for pulling back, capturing history or context, background.
    • This role may be abrasive to others who “ready to launch”, and do not appreciate being challenged in their thinking or assumptions.
    • Need to have sufficient authority to ask questions and challenge thinking (formal authority, professional credibility).
    • It is not always a good strategy in this role to simply blurt out the solution (no matter how confident you are in its rightness). Sometimes it makes more sense to hint at the solution and let it emerge from others or from the group as a whole.

    Recommender / Proponent / Supporter / Advocate

    Going into a meeting (or at a certain time in the meeting) with a particular position, perspective or proposal for which you argue. The goal is to get the group to “buy in” to the recommendation and make it a group decision.

    1. Need to acknowledge other points of view and treat them with respect despite the disagreement.
    2. Overlaps in relevant skills with sales. Need to understand your audience and how hard you can push; be prepared to respond to the most likely objections.
    3. Line up some supporters in the room beforehand; rely on them to voice their support for the proposal.
    4. When to close, and when to back off. Recognizing when the “decision point” is present, and when it won’t be present until some future meeting.
    5. Be prepared to speak to the process that generated the recommendation.

    Click here for Assessment of the Meeting Context

    Source:  Jerry Talley and Laleh Shahidi

    Assessing the Meeting Context

    Looking at the meeting through a broader systems lens; a given discussion takes place in the context of a broader system.

    -Where is the meeting “located” in the organizational chart?  ie: in the county / community structure? In the State structure?

    • Is there relevant legislation at the Federal level?
    • Is there relevant legislation at the State level?
    • Are there relevant policies and procedures from the State Department?
    • Looking at the level of [CMO + Board of Supervisors] . . .    ie:   Are there relevant players? networks?
    • Looking at the level of the agency . . .   ie: What are the relevant departments or program groups?

    -Who needs to be in the room?

    • Who has the authority or responsibility for the issue?
    • What other groups need to be “in the conversation” to ensure the right level of collaboration?
    • For certain types of meetings (problem solving, planning, work group, etc.) it will be critical to have knowledgeable, experienced people in the room.
    • If the meeting will generate a solution or a proposal, it would be helpful to have some higher-level people in the room to “grease the skids” for implementation. They can provide an early warning of the probable acceptance by higher-level groups.
    • Is there anyone likely to oppose or block the work of the group? How can we involve them in step-by-step agreements:     a) Do we agree that there is a problem?    b) Do we agree that we have the appropriate people / agencies / groups involved in finding a solution?    c) What other group is working on similar or complementary issues?

    -What other meetings are linked to this effort? What’s the overall flow of work, of which this meeting is merely one step?

    • Is our concern within the scope of authority of another group?

    -What trends in the larger environment will impact our effort?

    • Legislative trends?
    • Board of supervisors preferences?
    • CMO sensitivities?
    • Shifts in not-for-profits?

    -Are there other strategic issues which would preclude or nullify our work on more operational or tactical issues?
    -Are there any seasonal cycles or calendars that we need to be aware of?
    -Are there new staff involved who do not have the shared history or frameworks known to more seasoned staff?

      Click here for The Map of Meeting Assessment

      Source:  Jerry Talley and Laleh Shahidi

      Identifying the Type of the Meeting

      A given meeting may be a blend of different types:

      Rapport Building

      Goal is to build trust and understanding among the participants. The style and setting is more informal and personal. Focus on work product or formal agenda would be counter productive. Acceptable to bring in more personal information (new car, vacation, spouse, etc.). Opportunities for more diffuse learning.

      • Often embedded in another type of meeting.
      • Especially important with new participants or across some organizational boundary.


      • Employee appreciation meetings
      • Lunches and dinners around other meetings
      • Initial meetings with other county agencies, County Manager, or Board

      Process Guides:

      • Build credibility through your skill at asking questions and drawing people out, as well as your ability for appropriate self-disclosure without bragging or dampening the conversation.
      • Finding meaningful topics that make sense for the group and the level of intimacy.
      • More informal, fluid
      • Requires more than “small talk” about sports, weather, traffic, etc. Need to shift the conversation into more meaningful personal disclosures. However, this is not therapy; keep the disclosure appropriate to the group and setting.
      • Keep in mind that your self-disclosures are building your persona in the mind of others. And, unfortunately, overly manipulative or deliberate attempts to create a particular persona can backfire; your desired personal may be carefully chosen, but it has to be authentic as well.


      The goal is to reach a thorough understanding of the topic. No pressure on closure or decision making; deliberately try to be expansive or divergent rather than convergent. More of a focused topic, but with an openness to expanding boundaries or reframing the problem. Acceptable to articulate range of opinions without coming to a common consensus.

      • Most appropriate early in the consideration of an issue or problem.
      • Appropriate to explore who has relevant experience or expertise.
      • Exploratory

      Process Guides

      -Credibility flows from the ability …

      • to facilitate the process
      • to listen well and reflect
      • to contribute substantially to the topic
      • to articulate or capture key ideas in the discussion
      • to present ideas at the appropriate level of advocacy

      -Establish Ground Rules

      • Useful prompts
      • Tell me more about your thinking behind that?
      • Ask questions of the quieter participants?
      • Summarize the “sense of the group”

      -Use flip charts or a “parking lot” to capture ideas.
      -Watch for the congruence of verbal and non-verbal behavior.
      -Model the behavior you want others to emulate (speaking concisely, keeping on track, respecting others’ opinions)Can easily (and prematurely?) slide into a problem-solving or decision-making meeting.

      • Critical thinking could be a key tool to refocus the discussion.
      • It is problematic to find the right balance of discussion vs. other meeting types.

      -Not tolerated well by certain psychological types (a la Myers-Briggs).
      -Need to be distinguished from “Ain’t it Awful”, “The Sky is Falling” and other popular games.
      -A key process challenge is managing the end; making sure the discussion has not gone on too long, or been prematurely terminated.


      Goal is to transmit knowledge or skill. Typically there is an acknowledged expert and designated “students”. There may be a message or perspective beyond the simple content knowledge.

      • Assumption that the new skills or knowledge will impact the job performance of learners.
      • A major challenge is ensuring the transmission of knowledge rather than just the presentation of knowledge.
      • Matching the learning style with the teaching style. The trainer has the right to assess the success of the learner (in contrast to a presentation meeting).

      Process Guides:

      -Credibility stems from the ability to:

      • transmit knowledge effectively and confidently (for the teacher);
      • frame insightful questions (for the students)

      -Typically the Trainer has considerable authority to structure the process (for example, use of exercises)
      -Is the instructor recognized as an expert in his or her area?
      -Are the attendees clear about why they should learn the material presented?
      -Are there adequate opportunities for students to give feedback to the instructor on their level of understanding?
      -Is it clear how they are expected to use the material in their job?
      -Are the skills to be presented appropriately supported in the work environment (documentation, rewards, supervision, etc.)?

      Reporting and Presenting

      Goal is to transmit information or a framework. Sometimes there is an desire to persuade or to influence the audience; there is a story to tell. Usually a conversation among peers; the presenter may not have expertise as much as simply more experience with an issue.

      Credibility stems from:

      • presentation skills (style, sense of humor, ability to connect to the audience)
      • awareness of context for the presentation (irate constituencies, political sensitivity)
      • level of expertise or experience

      -May require the ability to alter the presentation in response to audience reaction.
      -Scale the presentation to match the potential of the room. More than 3 topics may be less effective.
      -The Presenter has to negotiate for control over the process (for example, taking Q&A at the end rather than during)
      -Major challenge is to identify the appropriate outcome or result.

      • Is there a recommendation attached which asks for approval?


      • Power point presentation on COA
      • Project update
      • Briefing on legislative trends

      Problem Solving

      Generates a range of solutions; may need to feed into another meeting to actually decide on the choice to be implemented. Presumes that we have thoroughly explored the situation rather than jumping directly to finding solutions.

      -An available resource is the material on www.ProblemSolving2.com which provides a model for addressing complex problems.

      Credibility in problem solving meetings stems from:

      • thinking critically about the problem, the frame, the proffered solutions, etc.
      • ability to be intuitive, innovative, even playful

      Process Guides:

      -Critical to establish the ground rules that allow for open discussion and free conversation.

      • Establishing a common methodology for problem solving.
      • Cut off the conversation killers:    a)That’ll never work here. “      b)We tried that back in ‘82″

      -Key issue is identifying the actual nature and scope of the problem. Do we have a problem? Are we working on the right thing? Have we framed the problem correctly?
      -Key issue is settling on criteria for a solution before jumping into specific solutions.

      Decision Making

      The goal is to select among action options, to commit resources, to commit to a schedule. Often mixed with a problem solving session.

      -A key issue is that the decision may be nested with other decisions emerging in the system.

      • Other decision makers elsewhere in the system
      • Is it consistent with policy and practice?
      • Are there strategic decisions that should precede a more operational choice?
      • Is there a broader political context that needs to be considered?

      -Who needs to be informed of the decision? And how?

      -Credibility in a decision making meeting stems from

      • Being realistic and appropriate about the process and the decision options
      • Maintaining the credibility of the decision process (and the resulting choice)
      • The ability to explain concisely and honestly how the decision came about (to the Board, other vendors, to your boss, to your peers, etc.)

      Process Guides:

      -Define the decision process or decision rules to be used
      -Define the criteria that will be used to make the decision
      -Identification of decision-maker(s)

      • Are the decision-makers present and involved?    a) Who has the final authority?  b) Have we identified the others who have a more indirect role (consult, inform, control resources, support, etc.)?   c)   Who has veto power (but won’t be heavily involved in the actual DM until the end)?
      • Constituencies represented?
      • How are the decision makers related to each other (hierarchical, networked, linear)?
      • Do we have the right level and paths of collaboration?

      -Nesting the decision

      • What other related issues need to be considered simultaneously?
      • Are there others who might be considering the same decision separately?
      • Projection of issue backwards and forwards in time

      -Decision readiness

      • Is there clarity about the decision to be made?
      • Is the group informed enough to decide?
      • Is there enough consensus on the basics? On shared goals?
      • Is the amount of controversy manageable?
      • Is this the group to make the decision? Or just to explore to issue?
      • Is there a real commitment behind the decision?
      • What type of decision should we consider?   a)Exploratory: a proposal, a leaning, “want to sleep on it”, make room for intuitive reflection;  b) Proposal: needs more discussion with more people; c) Tentative: surface any vetoes;  d) Final.
      • Is this the time to take action?   a)Is there a sense of priority or urgency?     b)What are the consequences of doing nothing?    c) Will the choice be made for us if we don’t take action?  d) Do we have the needed information? understanding? resources?


      Typically follows from a decision making session, where the new challenge is how to implement the choice.

      -The challenge is to plan the sequence of activities that will effectively implement the choice. Includes who will do what, and by when. And at what cost.
      - A key issue is to identify (in a broad sense) the key people who are required for successful implementation (CBO’s? Facilities? Finance? Public Information Officer? IT? Legal? etc?).
      -The level of detail and complexity demands some method for capturing the emerging plan visible to the whole group (flip charts, projected McProject, etc.).
      -A good criteria for a successful plan is that all the relevant players freely commit to their assignments and due dates.
      -Requires an appropriate match of the detail of the plan to the complexity of the implementation.
      -Project management is an established discipline, articulated in readily available software programs. Don’t reinvent the wheel!
      -Detailed planning may call into question the wisdom of the original choice. Revisiting the choice may be a critical step in the planning process.

      Credibility in planning comes from:

      • Getting the right people at the table
      • Using realistic estimates of resource requirements
      • Using the appropriate support tools
      • Balancing the natural resistance to novelty VS. the need for new behavior
      • Balancing planning ahead VS. being flexible in the face of the unknowable

      Implementation or Oversight / Steering Committee / Project Sponsors

      -For example, the AOD Strategic Plan Steering Committee

      • Representatives of all the stakeholders

      -High level stakeholders

      • Developed the plan, presented it to Board
      • Ensures that the plan gets executed
      • Key authority figures are available to make key resource decisions
      • Keep the work group from going off on a tangent
      • Block and tackle on behalf of the project

      -Critical to get the right people at the right level

      • There is a danger if the group doesn’t have enough to do.
      • Need to know when to sunset the steering committee; their best function may be just to bridge the effort from “novel project” to “ongoing work activity”.

      -Credibility for a staff person on a steering committee stems from

      • having the appropriate reporting to the members and appropriate things for them to do.
      • being candid about problems (no “sugar coating”, no whining)
      • being able to view things from their perspective (being organized, crisp, end on time, etc.)

      Work Group

      Group of relevant experts “doing the work”. Presumes that the group understands the task and is prepared to move the work forward. Typically follows after a planning meeting. But could be a group preparing recommendations for considering in a decision-making session.

      -Resources and timelines and scope of work should have been clarified in the earlier planning session.
      -A key issue is finding and maintaining clear teamwork principles and practices.
      -The work group leader needs to have basic facilitation skills to avoid contaminating group dynamics.
      -Need an accountability structure. How will we track progress against milestones?
      -A common stumbling of work groups is degenerating into aimless discussion or griping without closure or commitment.

      -Credibility for the leader in a work group stems from

      • The ability to keep the group focused and moving forward on time with the work plan.
      • Allowing room for people to “vent” when it is unavoidable.
      • Celebrating successes and acknowledging effort
      • Infusing some fun into the process.

      Feedback and Evaluation

      Reflecting on previous work hoping to identify lessons learned for future projects.

      -Requires a clear structure and process

      • Easy for people to be defensive
      • Important to accurately capture the evaluative comments made
      • Ensure that everyone gets a roughly equal amount of feedback
      • Ensure that everyone has an appropriate amount of input
      • Allow anonymity when appropriate and possible

      -Important to look for stumblings resulting from the environment or system as well as individual actions.

      • Budget crisis cut resources.
      • Change in high level players changed priorities or support available.

      -Credibility for the leader of feedback and evaluation meeting stems from

      • Accurately capturing evaluative comments (reflecting back for confirmation)
      • Maintaining a future orientation (“what are we going to do different next time?” VS. “What went wrong this time?”)
      • Avoiding a fault finding stance.


      • Debrief on CSDI training
      • Debrief on the Budget cycle

      Process Guides

      -Keep people from becoming defensive.

      • Reflect on events rather than on persons.
      • Have a trained facilitator to manage the flow.

      Click here for Identifying the Meeting Purpose

      Source: Jerry Talley and Laleh Shahidi

      Identifying The Meeting Purpose

      Identifying the meeting purpose consists of analyzing through critical thinking the purpose(s) explicitly presented, the purpose(s) implicitly present, and identifying (publicly or privately) the purpose to be achieved by the meeting. The goal of this analysis is identifying the meeting purpose to be achieved, not on the content or process to achieve the purpose.

      How did the meeting come about?

      • Who called the meeting?
      • What was the impetus or catalyst for the meeting?

      Challenge the stated purpose (critical thinking)

      • Who? What? When? Why? How?     for example, expand “they” into the actual players.
      • Identifying the underlying assumptions
      • Is there an unspoken agenda? An unacknowledged outcome?
      • Unpack “the topic” or “the issue”; push for a clear charter.
      • Identify and possibly expand the boundary around “the problem”. What’s the broader issue?

      Who would be the “customer” for the work of the meeting?

      • What outcome are they hoping for?
      • How will they use the work of the meeting?
      • What value are they hoping to take from the meeting?

      What would the outcome be of the meeting? What would be “on the table” when we’re done?

      • What understandings might result from the meeting?
      • What agreements might result from the meeting?
      • What documents might result from the meeting?
      • What feelings or relationships might be effected in the meeting?
      • What next steps would be identified for an ongoing conversation or series of meetings?

      Be particularly curious about the stated purpose, and open to the possibility that it was not well framed.

      • The initial definition of the problem may be quite removed from the actual issue.    For example, a work product may be embedded in a more elaborate process that is the proper focus of attention

      Click here for Adopting the Most Useful Role

      Source: Jerry Talley and Laleh Shahidi

      Overview of Meeting Assessment

      Click here for Identifying the Type of the Meeting

      Pyramid of Learning

      Putting knowledge into context

      John Hagel suggests that understanding and embracing the learning pyramid can help us to broaden our horizons and focus on the elements required to learn faster.

      Skills – at the top of the pyramid  – help us to achieve impact and create value in a specific context. Skills are about “knowing how.”, and they are inevitably context specific – they involve knowing how to act in a given context.  In a world that has been driven by increasing standardization, there’s been a tendency to underplay this aspect of skills, especially in the business world.  There is this notion that skills can be applied in the same standard way across most contexts.

      Knowledge – the second level of the learning pyramid – is about “knowing what.” Our schools tend to focus on broad-based knowledge like history, economics and science that give us a context for understanding the world we live in, but the knowledge here tends to be reduced to facts and figures that can be recited on a test – it truly is about “knowing what” rather than “knowing why.”

      Capabilities that drive learning are the third level of learning pyramid. Supporting the development of skills and a deeper understanding of our contexts are more fundamental capabilities. These capabilities can take many different forms, but the core capabilities are curiosity, imagination, creativity, critical thinking, social and emotional intelligence. If we cultivate these capabilities, we would be able to quickly understand the evolving contexts we live in and acquire the skills that would help us to operate successfully in very specific contexts.

      Passion as the foundation of learning help us to cultivate and deepen these capabilities over time.  It’s a very specific form of passion that has been identified in at the Center for the Edge at Deloitte – the passion of the explorer .  This form of passion has three components – (1) a long-term commitment to achieving an increasing impact in a particular domain, (2) a questing disposition that seeks out and is excited by new challenges and (3) a connecting disposition that actively seeks to connect with others who might be helpful in addressing these new challenges.

      People who have this form of passion are driven to cultivate the capabilities that can help them learn faster and acquire whatever knowledge and skills are required to succeed in their chosen domain. Sure, without this passion, we might still develop some of the capabilities required to learn faster, but we’ll be unlikely to nurture them to the extent of someone who has this passion and we’ll be unlikely to apply these capabilities as aggressively as someone who is constantly striving to increase their impact in a particular domain.

      So, why does all of this matter?

      Virtually all of  conversations on the future of work are focused on the skills becoming obsolete (or, more accurately, performed much more efficiently by ever smarter machines). Understanding and embracing the learning pyramid can help us to broaden our horizons and focus on the elements required to learn faster. We’ll never equip ourselves to be successful in our lifelong learning journey, if we don’t broaden our horizons and find a passion that will drive us to learn faster and nurture the capabilities required for learning.

      Source:  http://edgeperspectives.typepad.com/edge_perspectives/2017/11/mastering-the-learning-pyramid.html