Patrick F. Bassett, NAIS President [email_address] Difficult, Courageous, and Fierce Conversations
Sources <ul><li>Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila He...
Title <ul><li>Observations: Leadership is… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Vision? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Storytelling? </li></...
Title <ul><li>Observations…. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning to sense what we are hearing vs. “clarifying” what we are sayi...
Title 1. Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen How’...
Title <ul><li>Identifying the deeper issues: both sides’ sense of their own competence and goodness. </li></ul><ul><li>“ ...
Title <ul><li>“ Delivering a message” vs. “having a conversation.” </li></ul><ul><li>Developing a “learning stance” as op...
Title <ul><li>The Wrong Questions: Who is right? Whose fault is it? Why are you doing this? Vs. The Right Question: Why do...
Title <ul><li>Stop arguing about who is right. Stop needing to assign blame, “since when blame is the goal, understanding ...
Title <ul><li>The Global Version: Anthony Kwame Appiah’s Cosmopolitanism . Recognizing others’ firmly-held beliefs are ju...
Title Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen You’re g...
Title Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen . Can it...
A Puzzle A Puzzle: Why do we create the very outcomes we seek to avoid? Action Science: Source – Klingenstein Center Class...
The Admin Team Case (modified by NAIS) <ul><li>Context: At a meeting with the head of school, senior managers asked the ...
The Ladder of Inference High Low I take actions based on my beliefs I adopt beliefs about the world I add mean...
Nancy’s Case (Modified by NAIS) Nancy (an English teacher) is a member of the comment-reading team at Starfield Academy. ...
Nancy’s Case (Modified by NAIS, cont.) Dean of Academics, Jose’s supervisor, to tell Jose his work is unacceptable. Nancy’...
<ul><li>What Nancy Thought & Felt </li></ul><ul><li>I can’t believe he wrote the same comment for every student. Gross. Ho...
Action Science: Source – Klingenstein Center Class, April 2008, Professor Victoria Marsick Nancy’s Ladder of Inference Her...
PFB’s Conclusions <ul><li>We, not others, are largely responsible for creating the outcomes we wish to avoid. </li></ul><u...
Action Science Model Single Loop Learning Double Loop Learning Action Science: Source – Klingenstein Center Class, April 2...
Difficult Conversation Role Plays <ul><li>Teacher: “I’m getting daily magna opus emails from Sam’s Mom, ranging from ‘I...
Difficult Conversation Role Plays <ul><li>Head: “I had a board member call me to share a parent’s exchange where she call...
Difficult Conversation Role Plays <ul><li>Division Head: I just found out from a very angry teacher in my division that ...
Difficult Conversation Role Plays <ul><li>Division Head: “I’ve just had a very awkward conversation with Mr. and Mrs. Of...
Difficult Conversation Role Plays <ul><li>Senior Faculty Member at Opening Faculty Meeting: “Some of us were very surpri...
Difficult Conversation Role Plays <ul><li>Division Head: “As we’ve agreed, we need to discontinue a teaching position in t...
Title <ul><li>Why do we have a persistent achievement gap by race — and what should we do about it? </li></ul><ul><li>Why...
Title <ul><li>What do we do about the distrust that exists on both sides of the interracial conversation: “white talk vs. ...
Title <ul><li>Why leave so much to chance (cont.)? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>content that is broadcast in a one-size fits all...
Title <ul><li>Master the courage to interrogate reality : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lillian Hellman’s observation that “peopl...
Title <ul><li>Tackle your toughest challenge today : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Burnout comes from not naming and solving the ...
Title <ul><li>Take responsibility for your emotional wake : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>There is no trivial comment by a leader...
Title <ul><li>Tribes in the Northern Natal region in South Africa: their greeting is sawu bona -I see you (the greeting...
Title <ul><li>Identify the topics we are avoiding but everyone knows we should be talking about — what Ted Sizer calls “th...
The End!
http://viscog.beckman.illinois.edu/flashmovie/15.php To use video in teaching/presentation situations, one must purchase...
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NAIS President Pat Bassett's Difficult conversations4 1-11

Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Published in: Technology      News & Politics      
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Transcripts - NAIS President Pat Bassett's Difficult conversations4 1-11

  • 1. Patrick F. Bassett, NAIS President [email_address] Difficult, Courageous, and Fierce Conversations
  • 2. Sources <ul><li>Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen </li></ul><ul><li>Courageous Conversations about Race by Glen E. Singleton and Curtis Linton </li></ul><ul><li>Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work & in Life, One Conversation at a Time by Susan Scott </li></ul>
  • 3. Title <ul><li>Observations: Leadership is… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Vision? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Storytelling? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Courage? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Modeling? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conversation. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Why Conflicted Conversations Are So Hard </li></ul><ul><li>What Strategies To Use </li></ul><ul><li>What We’re Not Talking about but Should Be </li></ul>Difficult, Courageous, & Fierce Conversations
  • 4. Title <ul><li>Observations…. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning to sense what we are hearing vs. “clarifying” what we are saying? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Power distorts conversations. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leaders often at a disadvantage of constant scrutiny and imputed motives. Casey Stengel on being a manager: “The key to being a good manager is… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… keeping those who hate me away from those who are still undecided.” </li></ul></ul>Difficult, Courageous, & Fierce Conversations
  • 5. Title 1. Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen How’s the project coming? Fine, thanks. You’re holding me up. You’re a jerk. I hate you. Levels: Stated vs. Implied. Business at hand vs. Threats to my image.
  • 6. Title <ul><li>Identifying the deeper issues: both sides’ sense of their own competence and goodness. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Making your point because you are right” always fails. </li></ul><ul><li>Arguments are only seldom about “truth” and “facts”; they are almost always about feelings and identity. </li></ul>Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen
  • 7. Title <ul><li>“ Delivering a message” vs. “having a conversation.” </li></ul><ul><li>Developing a “learning stance” as opposed to a grenade-launching stance. </li></ul><ul><li>Sorting out “what really happened.” </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding what you and the other party are feeling. </li></ul><ul><li>Knowing why we see the world differently from others: different information and interpretations, based on our experiences, outlooks, dispositions, and assumptions — and because our conclusions always reflect self-interest. </li></ul>Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen
  • 8. Title <ul><li>The Wrong Questions: Who is right? Whose fault is it? Why are you doing this? Vs. The Right Question: Why do we see this differently? </li></ul><ul><li>Refocusing the discussion away from blame and toward understanding, away from “winning” a conversation toward insight and finding common ground that works for both sides. </li></ul><ul><li>PFB: Note Howard Gardner’s notion of intrapersonal vs. interpersonal knowledge: knowing why we think and feel the way we do vs. empathizing with the perspective of “the other.” </li></ul>Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen
  • 9. Title <ul><li>Stop arguing about who is right. Stop needing to assign blame, “since when blame is the goal, understanding and problem-solving are the casualties.” </li></ul><ul><li>Start understanding each other’s stories and reframe the conversation. </li></ul><ul><li>Move from certainty to curiosity. </li></ul><ul><li>Role-play: What’s behind the religious right’s political or educational agenda? What’s behind the ACLU’s attack on religion in the public common? </li></ul><ul><li>Deconstruct “town hall meetings” on reforming health care. </li></ul>Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen
  • 10. Title <ul><li>The Global Version: Anthony Kwame Appiah’s Cosmopolitanism . Recognizing others’ firmly-held beliefs are just as culturally-derived and as important as ours, however antithetical or even repugnant to ours: welcoming dialogue with openness and showing a willingness to learn. </li></ul><ul><li>PFB: Adopt Coleridge’s “willing suspension of disbelief” as first stage to empathy and understanding. </li></ul>Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen
  • 11. Title Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen You’re going out of the office in flip flops? What if the university president saw her crossing campus? Unprofessional. Are you serious? Going to a campus meeting. Why would anyone care about my footwear, so long as I do the job well? How dare my boss impose unnecessary dress code rules! The Boomer Boss /Millennial Staffer Version (“Generation Vexed,” Case Currents , Oct. 2009)
  • 12. Title Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen . Can it wait? I’m busy Puzzle: Mishandled conversations create the very outcomes we dread. She doesn’t get what my work demands.. Fine. You think you’re only busy one? You don’t love me. The Spouse/Partner Version
  • 13. A Puzzle A Puzzle: Why do we create the very outcomes we seek to avoid? Action Science: Source – Klingenstein Center Class, April 2008, Professor Victoria Marsick
  • 14. The Admin Team Case (modified by NAIS) <ul><li>Context: At a meeting with the head of school, senior managers asked the head whether or not participation in a new faculty development workshop on diversity was mandatory for them. </li></ul><ul><li>What the head said: “I haven’t lost my confidence in you . . . yet.” </li></ul><ul><li>If you were an admin team member, what do you think he or she meant? </li></ul><ul><li>How would you act on your beliefs? </li></ul>Action Science: Source – Klingenstein Center Class, April 2008, Professor Victoria Marsick
  • 15. The Ladder of Inference High Low I take actions based on my beliefs I adopt beliefs about the world I add meanings (cultural and personal) I observe data and experiences He’s no different than the others—despite his “nice guy” posturing! I’d better sign up now! He’s really saying he has already lost his patience He’s not telling the whole story I haven’t lost my confidence in you, yet. . . I draw conclusions I select data from what I observe Action Science: Source – Klingenstein Center Class, April 2008, Professor Victoria Marsick By climbing the ladder of inference, we misunderstand and act contrary to what we seek and need, exacerbating situations. (Head could have meant, “I trust you to decide for yourselves.”) Running up the ladder of inference (compounding error) vs. inquiring down the ladder, unpacking assumptions)
  • 16. Nancy’s Case (Modified by NAIS) Nancy (an English teacher) is a member of the comment-reading team at Starfield Academy. At the end of each term, the Dean of Academics (Sarah) convenes the team and together the members read every student report and, when necessary, edit the reports for tone, style, grammar, and typographical errors. Nancy writes lengthy, individualized comments for each student, but she notices that Jose (a Spanish teacher) writes a single two-sentence comment and pastes the right (and sometimes the wrong) name where it is supposed to be. Nancy believes this is unacceptable, that Jose is failing to meet the expectations of faculty members at SA, and that her own hard work is less valuable when others do the task so poorly but with no repercussions. It seems worth noting that Jose is an alum and the younger brother of beloved faculty member. Nancy would like Sarah to serve in her role as Action Science: Source – Klingenstein Center Class, April 2008, Professor Victoria Marsick
  • 17. Nancy’s Case (Modified by NAIS, cont.) Dean of Academics, Jose’s supervisor, to tell Jose his work is unacceptable. Nancy’s goal is to express her frustration with the inconsistent application of standards for report writing (or with the lack of standards), and to remind Sarah that it is her job to articulate and uphold those standards. Her secondary goal is to not get fired for rocking the boat and for taking on an issue some might see, wrongfully in her mind, as having racial or ethnic overtones. Action Science: Source – Klingenstein Center Class, April 2008, Professor Victoria Marsick
  • 18. <ul><li>What Nancy Thought & Felt </li></ul><ul><li>I can’t believe he wrote the same comment for every student. Gross. How can he possibly think that’s acceptable? How can that possibly be a reflection of his experience of those students in the classroom? He’s not doing his job. How can he get away with that level of neglect and laziness? </li></ul><ul><li>How can it be so obvious that he doesn’t care, and yet Sarah is going to let him get away with it? I’m sure if someone asked him about each student, he would have specific things to say about each one. (Well, that might be assuming too much.) </li></ul><ul><li>What Was Said </li></ul><ul><li>Nancy: “Sarah, I think Jose wrote the same comment for every student, and it’s only two sentences long.” </li></ul><ul><li>Sarah: (Sigh). “Give them to me.” </li></ul><ul><li>Nancy: “He must have more to say than that, right? Those comments can’t possibly make parents happy, can they?” </li></ul><ul><li>Sarah: Silence </li></ul>Action Science: Source – Klingenstein Center Class, April 2008, Professor Victoria Marsick
  • 19. Action Science: Source – Klingenstein Center Class, April 2008, Professor Victoria Marsick Nancy’s Ladder of Inference Her… Goals? Assumptions? Actions? Outcomes? Double Loop?
  • 20. PFB’s Conclusions <ul><li>We, not others, are largely responsible for creating the outcomes we wish to avoid. </li></ul><ul><li>Avoiding the difficult conversations produces anxiety, anger, disillusionment, and distress. </li></ul><ul><li>Having “to be right” is always wrong. </li></ul><ul><li>Climbing the ladder of inference inevitably positions you for a fall. </li></ul><ul><li>Descending the ladder of inference and assuming a posture of openness (“growth” vs. “fixed” mindset) and curiosity is double-loop learning, positioning you for growth and more successful outcomes of difficult conversations. </li></ul>
  • 21. Action Science Model Single Loop Learning Double Loop Learning Action Science: Source – Klingenstein Center Class, April 2008, Professor Victoria Marsick See NAIS Case Study #11 : Digging Deeper or NAIS Case Study #31 The Package Deal A Person’s Assumptions, Values, Beliefs Intentions Actions Outcomes Match Mismatch
  • 22. Difficult Conversation Role Plays <ul><li>Teacher: “I’m getting daily magna opus emails from Sam’s Mom, ranging from ‘I saw Sam with his coat unbuttoned on the playground’ to ‘Sam tells me some of the boys are making fun of him’ and I don’t have time to answer them all any more.” </li></ul><ul><li>Division Head: “Well….” </li></ul>
  • 23. Difficult Conversation Role Plays <ul><li>Head: “I had a board member call me to share a parent’s exchange where she called to report she’s monitoring her child’s Facebook page and found one of his classmates talking about Hitler and guns, but you and the school counselor said you were monitoring it too but saw no cause for concern and just recommended ‘de-friending’ the kid. The board member is alarmed and fears other parents will be too.” </li></ul><ul><li>Division Head: “Well….” </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  • 24. Difficult Conversation Role Plays <ul><li>Division Head: I just found out from a very angry teacher in my division that you overrode our long-standing policy denying requests for students to drop a course after the first marking period without having the withdraw-pass or withdraw fail appear on the transcript because in this case the Welltodoes made a direct appeal to you. I know they’re major donors, but this will undermine completely your credibility with the faculty regarding our academic integrity.” </li></ul><ul><li> Head: “Well….” </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  • 25. Difficult Conversation Role Plays <ul><li>Division Head: “I’ve just had a very awkward conversation with Mr. and Mrs. Offended who tell me that you and Mrs. Offended had become close and ‘befriended’ one another on Facebook, but that friendship had gone south, she says because you had hit on her husband. And they told me about what they called a ‘provocative’ photo from your Facebook page that showed you pregnant with lots of skin showing, indicative of your lack of decent morals. They want me to fire you.” </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher: “Well….” </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  • 26. Difficult Conversation Role Plays <ul><li>Senior Faculty Member at Opening Faculty Meeting: “Some of us were very surprised to see the draconian changes in the drug policy you put into place over the summer, and we don’t support them. This is a school, after all, and we should use student mistakes as teachable moments, not as showcase trials for a hard-line ‘crime and punishment’ display from administration. And since when does the administration make policy without consulting the faculty? If this is how we’re going to do business around here now, I’m going to have to re-consider whether or not I want to be part of this community.” </li></ul><ul><li>Division Head: “Well….” </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  • 27. Difficult Conversation Role Plays <ul><li>Division Head: “As we’ve agreed, we need to discontinue a teaching position in the math department because of decreased enrollment.  There are three possibilities:  1.) Sarah, who is the most senior of the group and our scheduler (which nobody else can do), but we all agree is a weak teacher; 2.) Mac, an excellent teacher (the strongest of the three) who has been at the school ten years but does very little outside of the classroom and is somewhat resentful when is asked to do so; 3.) Pam, a very good young teacher who has been at the school for just two years and is willing to do anything above and beyond, and often volunteers.  I’m having trouble deciding which one should go? </li></ul><ul><li>Head: “Well….” </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  • 28. Title <ul><li>Why do we have a persistent achievement gap by race — and what should we do about it? </li></ul><ul><li>Why isn’t equal opportunity all we need? </li></ul><ul><li>What causes the persistent racial inequities and an uneven playing field? </li></ul><ul><li>What if equity does not mean equal resources but rather that students with the greatest need receive the greatest systemic support in order to achieve success? </li></ul>2. Courageous Conversations about Race by Glen E. Singleton and Curtis Linton
  • 29. Title <ul><li>What do we do about the distrust that exists on both sides of the interracial conversation: “white talk vs. color commentary.” Teaching from the Bible and Talmud : “We do not see things as they are; we see them as we are.” </li></ul><ul><li>Why leave so much to chance? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>standards and curriculum defined by individual teachers; </li></ul></ul>Courageous Conversations about Race by Glen E. Singleton and Curtis Linton
  • 30. Title <ul><li>Why leave so much to chance (cont.)? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>content that is broadcast in a one-size fits all format; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a general acquiescence to the “fixed mindset” (cf. Carol Dweck) that some students will “get it” and others won’t; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a lack of data on who is succeeding in school; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a lack of resolve to do something about those who aren’t. </li></ul></ul>Courageous Conversations about Race by Glen E. Singleton and Curtis Linton
  • 31. Title <ul><li>Master the courage to interrogate reality : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lillian Hellman’s observation that “people change and forget to tell one another.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Military’s notion of the distinction between “ground truth” and “official truth.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Come out from behind yourself into the conversation and make it real : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ When the conversation is real, the change happens before the conversation is over.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PFB: Do we know when conversations are superficial and disingenuous versus when they are deep and authentic? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Be here, prepared to be nowhere else : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Participate as if it matters, since it does.” </li></ul></ul>3. Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work & in Life, One Conversation at a Time by Susan Scott
  • 32. Title <ul><li>Tackle your toughest challenge today : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Burnout comes from not naming and solving the problem. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PFB: Our distaste for meetings related to avoiding the tough — and meaningful — conversations. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Obey your instincts : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>PFB: Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink: What’s your gut telling you? Why are you feeling guilty about neglecting to do or say something? </li></ul></ul>Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work & in Life, One Conversation at a Time by Susan Scott
  • 33. Title <ul><li>Take responsibility for your emotional wake : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>There is no trivial comment by a leader. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PFB: Whom can we trust to be “the truth-tellers” about the impact of a leader’s statements? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Let silence do the heavy lifting : It will tell you what really needs to be said. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>PFB: I wonder why we Americans are so fretful about the pauses and so quick to fill them. </li></ul></ul>Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work & in Life, One Conversation at a Time by Susan Scott
  • 34. Title <ul><li>Tribes in the Northern Natal region in South Africa: their greeting is sawu bona -I see you (the greeting in Avatar’s Pandora, too!), and the reply is sikhona (I am here). </li></ul><ul><li>In this culture, the message is clear: Unless you see me, I do not exist. </li></ul><ul><li>PFB: That observation ties all three of these books together. </li></ul>Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work & in Life, One Conversation at a Time by Susan Scott
  • 35. Title <ul><li>Identify the topics we are avoiding but everyone knows we should be talking about — what Ted Sizer calls “the silences” and Roland S. Barth calls “the unmentionables.” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Where are the Hispanic kids and teachers?” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Why is your performance lagging?” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Why is your behavior so offensive?” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Are we becoming schools for the richest of the rich and the smartest of the poor?” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Why is it easier to change the course of history than to change a history course?” </li></ul></ul>Difficult, Courageous, & Fierce Conversations
  • 36. The End!
  • 37. http://viscog.beckman.illinois.edu/flashmovie/15.php To use video in teaching/presentation situations, one must purchase on DVD @ Viscog Productions, Inc. )

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