Leadership Communication

Improve Your Life, In 30 Minutes, By Changing One Thing

I spent my entire formal education (and a ton of money) learning how to think and talk in complicated ways. I was convinced that it made me look smart and trustworthy and important.

When I graduated and began practicing clinical psychology I quickly learned that nobody really cares how smart you are if you can’t translate it into something they can use. I also learned that very few people care how much you know until the know how much you care. (more…)

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It’s Not About The Orange

This week is launch week for our new book, Seeing People Through: Unleash Your Leadership Potential with The Process Communication Model.

PCM has changed my life, and the lives of thousands of people who have learned how to communicate with Process. Here’s a video I recorded in 2017 about how even the simplest of interactions can lead to miscommunication if we don’t pay attention to process.

Yesterday we had local elections in my town. Everyone was asking for my vote. Today I am asking for your vote in the form of buying a copy of my new book.

No matter who you lead, or your scope of authority, PCM can help you be more authentic, take better care of yourself, motivate people in positive ways, increase your agility, include others in more meaningful ways, and experience wonderful new parts of your own personality.

Get your copy today!

LIMITED TIME DISCOUNT

This week only, save 20% on the new PCM Leadership Profile. At checkout, use code SPT2020 to claim your discount and receive a live debrief with me.

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How Compassion Cures Viruses

Viruses are invisible, but the impact isn’t. A friend of mine who had Coronavirus said that after the initial headaches and body aches subsided, the most distressing symptoms were loss of taste and tingling in various parts of her body. I’m grateful that she has recovered and is doing fine now. Some aren’t so lucky.

Then there are the relationship and cultural symptoms. Fear, denial, blaming, grief, discord within communities and agencies trying to determine the best next steps. Each of us is struggling with our own strategy for dealing with this invisible virus, and how to have conversations with other about those decisions.

My daughter is getting married in less than two weeks. I’m sure you can imagine the conversations we’ve been having!

How do we reconcile the raw human side of this with our personal and collective responsibility to each other in community? How do we honor the fear while helping empower? How do we maintain our boundaries when someone else has a different standard? How do we keep channels of communication open with people who have vastly different views about what’s going on?

I’m grateful for Compassionate Accountability and the tools we’ve developed at Next Element for just these types of situations. Jamie Remsberg wrote a terrific personal account of using our Compassion formula to engage our clients around tricky boundaries. I encourage you to take a look.

We will have a vaccine before long. And while that might cure the Coronavirus, it won’t cure drama. It won’t change the challenge of having productive, healthy conflict. It won’t change the fact that leaders must facilitate safe spaces where employees can come together and solve the biggest problems for the future.


We built The Compassion Mindset and Leading Out of Drama just for this. Give us a call to upgrade your compassion skills and cure the drama virus today!

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Falling Up The Stairs: Mistaking Your Way to Excellence

When I was young I loved stairs! Going up I would try to leap over as many as I could in one giant lunge. Going down I’d hold on to the railings and see how many I could skip. One time I made it all the way down my grandmother’s staircase in two steps!

I’m grateful I’ve never had a bad accident on stairs. But I have fallen. Falling down the stairs is scary and dangerous. Falling backwards down the stairs is even worse – I’ve done that too. But what about falling up the stairs? Here’s what falling up the stairs has taught me about making mistakes.

The future meets you faster than expected. When you fall up the stairs your landing spot is closer than if you are walking on flat ground, so you hit sooner and learn quicker.

You are still making progress. When you fall up the stairs you are still ahead of where you started.

It doesn’t hurt as bad. Falling up the stairs isn’t as dangerous, and you rarely sustain long-lasting injuries.

Railings help. Having something (or someone) to hold on to boosts courage and makes it easier to get up.

What if we approached mistakes like we approach stairs. Climbing is how we make progress. Keeping it safe will get you there eventually, but that’s boring, predictable, and slow. When we get resourceful about how we climb, though, we increase our chance of making a mistake.

What if we took risks in ways that helped us fall up the stairs instead? Here are three tips for mistaking your way to excellence.

  1. Lean forward, lean in.
  2. Have your hands out, ready to respond.
  3. Pick yourself up quickly and adjust.
  4. Use your support system.

As a leader, parent, teacher, coach, mentor, or facilitator, how do you help your people fall up the stairs? You can help them get to the future faster while still making progress and minimizing the damage.

Copyright Next Element Consulting, LLC 2020
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Three Surprisingly Simple Solutions to Common Miscommunication Challenges

Do you ever say something and the response isn’t what you expected or intended. You may think you are being clear, open, and straightforward, but what comes back suggests otherwise. The root of most miscommunication is good intentions, unintended consequences. Next time, before you escalate, get defensive or second-guess yourself, try these surprisingly simple adjustments to become a better communicator and more trusted partner.

Challenge: When you ask your partner where he or she wants to go out for dinner and you get this tentative response, “I don’t care, wherever you want to go is fine.”

Solution: Respond like this, “As long as we are together, that’s what matters most to me.”

Lesson: Some people won’t share their opinions or ideas until they feel safe enough with you and know you won’t judge them. Above all, they need to know you care about them as a person, no strings attached.

Challenge: When you ask someone a simple question and they respond with another question or, even worse, they question your motives.

Solution: Disclose your motives first, then ask your question. Example: “I am anxious about feeling prepared for the upcoming board meeting. Will you please run the current financials for me?”

Lesson: When you don’t share your motives, you invite people not to trust you. Most motives are emotional, like wanting to feel secure or confident or prepared.

Challenge: When you get honest with someone and say, “I feel like you don’t respect my boundaries…” and they get defensive.

Solution: Get rid of the word, “like” in your sentence, and own your own feelings without reference to the other person’s behavior. Example: “I feel angry and defensive right now. I interpreted your remarks to mean……”

Lesson: You are 100% responsible for your feelings. Never use “like” after a feeling because it turns it into an assumption or accusation. Never imply that someone else is to blame for your feelings.

Caution: These are behavioral solutions and they don’t address the underlying mindsets. When trying these new behaviors, you may may experience some internal struggle. That’s OK, because it means you are facing attitudes and beliefs that interfere with your ability to communicate effectively.

Copyright Next Element Consulting, LLC 2020

Next Element specializes in behavioral training for more effective communication and leadership. We will help you change the behaviors and the mindsets that get in your way so that you can engage differently for breakthrough results.

Call today about training and coaching for you or your team.

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How To Make Your Personality More Resilient – Part 2

Personality science reveals that authentic emotional expression is the key to resilience during change. Taibi Kahler, PhD, originator of the Process Communication Model, discovered that humans often hunker down to avoid dealing with particular emotions. The paradox is that only by authentically experiencing these emotional issues can you unlock your personality to deal with what’s next.

Instead of hunkering down during crisis, open up and unlock the positive potential in your personality.

There are six personality types in each of us. One is primary. They all hunker down in their own way, and they all have their own emotional issue to face. I covered two of the types, Thinker and Persister, in last week’s post. Here are the other four. (more…)

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How To Communicate with Compassion During Crisis

I travel quite a bit, so I’ve been paying attention to how the airlines are responding to the coronavirus crisis. I’ve gotten emails from the three airlines I use most, Delta, American, and United. Crisis communication requires compassion, which was notably absent in these messages.

All of the notifications conveyed two basic messages;

  1. We know safety is important so here’s what we are doing about it. (Information)
  2. Here’s why you can still trust us. (Commitments)

Here are the opening and closing paragraphs for each email I received. I’ve left out the parts listing the specific actions each airline is taking since they are essentially identical. Information parts are coded Blue, and Commitments are in Purple.

Delta (Ed Bastain, CEO)

As a valued member of the Delta family, I appreciate the trust you place in us and our people worldwide when you travel.

In the current environment, it’s important for all of us to travel smarter and more consciously. That’s why I want to personally update you on the situation with COVID-19 (the coronavirus) and the steps we are taking to ensure your health and safety in your travels.

(Here they list all the steps they are taking)

I believe Delta’s mission of connecting the world and creating opportunities is never more important than at times like this.

Thank you for your continued trust in Delta, and I look forward to seeing you in my own travels throughout the year.

American (Kurt Stache, SVP, Customer Experience)

Your safety and well-being is always our top priority at American Airlines, but particularly in relation to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Providing you with up-to-date information on what we are doing to respond to the issue is a critical step in giving you peace of mind when you travel. Here are a few highlights of our efforts:

(Here they list all the steps they are taking)

We are confident that our incredible team of more than 130,000 will care for you in the best possible way during your journey with us.

United (Oscar Munoz)

I consider you part of our United family and your safety remains our highest priority.

We are in the business of serving people and in the midst of this coronavirus outbreak it’s important that we give you as much flexibility as possible when planning your next trip. But it’s also important that we give you as much information as possible about the procedures we follow to clean our aircraft and maintain a sanitary environment once we’re in the air.

(Here they list all the steps they are taking)

I want you to know that you can continue to rely on us. So, the next time we have the privilege of welcoming you aboard our aircraft, you can know our commitment to you remains as steadfast as ever.

Lack of Compassion in Crisis Communication

What’s consistently missing in these crisis communication emails is openness, the foundation for compassion. None of these top leaders make an emotional connection with their constituents. There is no empathy for the feelings of anxiety and fear and no acknowledgment of the vulnerability we all feel. United and Delta make a broad statement about “family” but show no effort to connect at a personal level.

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Compassionate communication requires transparent information exchange, and solid commitments to behavior, but first and foremost is an emotional connection that acknowledges the human connection we all have. Why? Because it is this connection that get us through the crisis together instead of falling apart.

The Compassion Cycle provides a framework for communicating during crisis while including all aspects of compassion.

Openness: Make an emotional connection. Most importantly during crisis is to name the anxiety and fear and connect personally with it so that people get the message, “You aren’t alone and you feelings matter.”

Resourcefulness: Active, informed problem-solving. All three airlines did a great job of this. Even better, give us travelers things we can do to lower our risk and partner with you in the solution. This helps us feel more in control during times of uncertainty.

Persistence: Be trustworthy. Be trustworthy. Be trustworthy. Be honest, be dependable, and be consistent. We all need to know what to expect from you.

Want help applying our compassion template to your crisis communication strategy? Call us for a free 30 minute consultation. +1 316 283 4200, email info@next-element.com 

Ideal compassionate communication from any airline would have read like this;

I can imagine that you are anxious and afraid about travel safety in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. This is perfectly normal and we are in this together. Our loved ones are also traveling. We are here for you because you are part of our family.

Here is the most up-to-date information we know, and these are the steps we are taking to ensure your continued safety and comfort.

Our mission is ___________. Our commitment to you is__________. You can count on us to uphold these values during this crisis.

I appreciate how difficult it is to communicate effectively in times of crisis and uncertainty. If you are struggling to find the right approach, use ORP (Open-Resourceful-Persistent) to do it with compassion. We are committed to teaching you effective communicating strategies so you can feel more confident during turbulent times.

If you need help, give us a call.

Mr. Munoz, Mr. Bastain, and Mr. Stache, the first consultation is on me!

Want help applying our compassion template to your crisis communication strategy? Call us for a free 30 minute consultation. +1 316 283 4200, email info@next-element.com

Copyright Next Element Consulting, LLC 2020

Are travel restrictions are keeping you in your office? Take advantage of our VIRTUAL training, consulting and coaching programs.

Next Element’s training programs were built for RIGHT NOW. Never has the need for compassionate leadership and healthy conflict negotiation been more important.

  • No travel needed: Virtual instructor led via webinar
  • Quick: Two hour courses
  • Practical: Immediately applicable skills
  • Cost-Effective: Digital materials, volume discounts
  • Rapid Scaling: Virtual certification allows large-scale deployment within days or weeks.
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Compassion Re-Imagined for 2020

2020 will be a year of great challenge and great opportunity. Division and drama are at an all time high. Globally 85% of workers are not engaged or actively disengaged at work. Yet everywhere we travel around the world, leaders tell us they are craving positive connections and authentic relationships. They are tired of the drain and want their energy back! They are looking for a better way. (more…)

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Top 10 Blog Posts From 2019

Happy New Year! I want to send out a heartfelt thank you to all of my subscribers. I appreciate your support, your comments, and this remarkable community of people who care about better communication and more compassion at work. In keeping with tradition, here are the most read posts from my blog in 2019. (more…)

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