Are you really listening?

Monday, September 19, 2016

Are You Really Listening?

The only effective way to listen when practicing critique is to slow down, suspend reaction, and judgment, and give the person speaking your undivided attention. Sincere listening, especially by people in positions of authority, honors the person speaking, and encourages clear, direct, and succinct communication.

Listening is not easy in a fast-paced, multitasking culture…


Getting to candor

Monday, September 19, 2016

Getting to Candor

“Pretty much all the honest truth telling in the world is done by children.”
– Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

A Most Misunderstood Word

Candor is one of the most misunderstood words in the English language. The word comes from the Latin word meaning “whiteness, brilliance, unstained purity,” and has evolved to mean speaking openly and honestly. The mantra following the banking scandals of the last decade is the need for candor and transparency. Renowned leaders and experts like Jack Welch, Daniel Goleman and Warren Bennis have published numerous books that cite the importance of candor. In fact, most books on leadership cite candor as…


Are you deceiving yourself?

Monday, September 19, 2016

Are You Deceiving Yourself?

Self-deception is a natural human behavior in which we see our own behaviors in terms of our (usually good) intentions. On the other side of that, people we relate to every day see only our actions, and the two views can be very different! People naturally want to be productive members of society and make a meaningful contribution in relationships. Unless we have one of those wonderful relationships that has candor, the intended and the reality of our actions can cause a lot of negative emotions like fear, anger, resentment, self-righteousness, to name a few.

Self-deception is prevalent and stubborn! The only way to overcome self deception is…


How transparent is your relationship culture?

Monday, September 19, 2016

How Transparent is Your Relationship Culture?

Most people don't realize that every relationship has a culture. You don’t usually think of culture operating at the relationship level, or driving individual behaviors, but it has the lead role. Drs. Blake and Mouton said "Culture is to the corporation as air is to man, so enveloping that unless something foul or fragrant is added, he is not aware of it." And that applies for a multinational organization, or an individual family.

Our relationships are as unique as our individual personalities. Think of the journey of developing your strongest relationships. Those you value most likely evolved over time and included a fair amount of conflict. What are the characteristics…


Maximizing critique

Monday, September 19, 2016

Maximizing Critique

Critique is the most valuable skill available for building capacity and culture change but is so often underused or misused.

People often think of critique as an innate gift to which people may be predisposed at birth. The truth is that critique is simply a skill, like a muscle, that needs exercise and practice.

Critique gives people the strength to make a sincere and meaningful contribution to an effort. What often separates a successful team from weaker ones is that even when team members are focused and driving toward a successful conclusion, they don’t…


How group dynamics drive behavior and norms

Monday, September 19, 2016

How Group Dynamics Drive Behavior and Norms

A norm is any uniform attitude or action that two or more people share by virtue of their membership in a group. We experience our attitudes toward productivity as private and personal, as originating in our own thinking, experience, and motivation, and as unique to each of us. What we fail to realize is that our attitudes arise from the norms of the groups in which we hold memberships. As a result, group norms for productivity and our attitudes toward them regulate a greater part of our work effort or lack of it than we realize.

Norms are the most powerful silent catalyst in teams. They draw a line in the sand between …


Historical perspective of Grid methodology by Rachel McKee

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Historical Perspective of Grid Methodology

Written & Delivered by Rachel McKee at the Grid User's Conference, Belfast City, Northern Ireland

There is a moment in a Grid Seminar where self-deception and fear give way to courage. Courage replaces fear as team members cross a threshold of mutual trust that makes candor possible. For some people, this moment is the most powerful they’ve ever experienced because for first time they see their behaviors through the eyes of others. That moment may feel like serendipity to seminar participants, but it’s actually very deliberate. It comes from a half-century of research and application in the field of group dynamics. This article traces some of the history that went into the moment, and into Grid OD.…