Benefits of having Intentional Discussions about Tough Topics

communication, discussion, dialogue

Titled leaders and employees are happier and more successful when they learn how to have discussions that include deep listening and truth telling.   A failure to do either one equals missed opportunities for learning and growth.  (This is also true for family and community members.)

As a result,  I’ve been encouraging listening, thinking, and dialogue with increasing frequency and leveraging current events as examples of how we can do this.

As you watch the news, are you ever so aware of the pain and the division in our world that it is hard to think about anything else?  

Recently in my home country:  

  • A woman was set on fire because of her faith.
  • Two other women were punched because of their faith.
  • Bombs were set off and people were stabbed for their faith.
  • A man was killed because of the color of his skin.
  • Several men were killed because of the uniform they wear.

Some have responded with fear and hate for everyone that is not like them. 

Others deny that any problem exists and encourage blind acceptance.  


Do we really have only two options???

Fuel Fear or Avoid Fear


Overcoming dread: When your opinionated peer becomes your boss

A true story: About listening, teamwork and growth

Dreading that opinionated new boss?

ExpectationsImagine learning that a very obstinate peer is going to become your new boss. Yes – the opinionated one that is like a dog with a bone and just won’t drop a subject, and almost always opposes your point of view.

To say you are concerned is an understatement! That overwhelming dread you are feeling is fueled by RAW FEAR.


Are You FULLY Leveraging Your Freedom To Dialogue?

Problem Solving Starts Here!

Listen, Dialogue, Research, Think

As many of you know, I’m living in a part of the world where many freedoms that I once took for granted – don’t exist.  -Now don’t get me wrong I agreed to move here, to seek first to understand and to learn.  So I’m not complaining.  …But I absolutely must share what I’m learning.

Have you ever considered that…

  • In countries where sharing research and opinions puts liberty and lives at risk – citizens are being taught that it is safer not to think
  • In countries that allow freedom of speech, traditional journalists have done so much of the work for citizens – that we’ve allowed ourselves to become lazy thinkers
  • Dialogue is a way for us to seek truth, gain new perspectives, build relationships, and solve problems
  • Dialogue is also a freedom that many take for granted

Strategically NOT THINKING – Is it really safer and easier?

"Unsuccessful people focus their thinking on survival. Average people focus their thinking on maintenance. Successful people focus their thining on progress." -John MaxwellUnsuccessful people focus their thinking on survival.Average people focus their thinking on maintenance.Successful people focus their thining on progress.--John Maxwell

Have you ever worked in a place that is caught in a cycle that is NOT working?

  • But instead of digging for the root cause, titled leaders wave “magic wands” that cause some people to disappear and others to appear?

Have you ever wondered if anyone recognizes that new faces are just another Band-Aid that is being used to cover a growing cancer instead of treating it?

Once upon a time, I had a conversation with someone about a problem that needed to be solved.

We’d faced this problem before.

  • The first solution had been to replace a person.
  • A few months later we were having a very similar problem with a different person.

We both agreed that the problem was not only unresolved, it had gotten worse.  And we agreed that we needed a solution.

  • But we disagreed about what that looked like.
  • I wanted to know why a second person was struggling in the same position that someone else had failed in.
  • He didn’t want to waste time flipping rocks trying to understand why, he simply wanted the new person replaced, as quickly as possible.

When problems surface, it is so tempting to rush for the magic wand.

It may appear to be faster, easier or even the “safest” way to appease the investors or the CEO.

  • However, waving magic wands that make some faces disappear while new faces appear, doesn’t solve deeper issues.
  • And titled leaders that prefer magic wands to real solutions  – won’t be around very long.

Below are two true stories:

 1.  A high-potential employee is constantly promoted within a company for more than a decade. 

When he is promoted again he can’t get the tools and support he needs and begins to struggle. He’s not a quitter and doesn’t know how to fail, so he sacrifices all of his vacation and family time and works instead.  But no matter how many hours he puts in, he is treated as if he is the problem and eventually fired.

Then another high potential/long-term employee is relocated to take the same role, in the same place, with the same leader, in the same environment.

And the cycle begins again…

What if:

  • The employees that are continually recruited for this role are not the problem?
  • The training and support needs to be improved?
  • The culture in that department is causing people to fail?
  • The titled leader in that department is the source of the problem?

*What is it costing the organization to continually lose long-term, high performing employees in this one black hole?  

2.  An owner of a couple of small businesses is frustrated with dwindling profits. 

He blames his staff, treats them badly, moves them to different locations, stalls their vacations and refuses to listen to their feedback.

What if:

  • The employees need more training and more support?
  • The declining business is caused by the owner’s lack of presence and engagement with his customers?
  • His customer are leaving because competitors have better service, pricing, equipment and facilities?

*What is is costing that business owner to continue to operate in this way?  


Please share:  

  • Have you ever worked in a culture that discourages thinking?

Want more on this topic?  

Feeling helpless about the cycle of division and destruction?

Here's what YOU can do.

Feeling helpless about division and destruction? Here's what you can do.

Last night right before I went to bed, I learned about the shooting deaths of 3 more police officers – this time in Baton Rouge. It is heart-breaking and tempting to feel helpless, as angry people continue to destroy lives and rock our world with bombings, shootings, and even trucks.

This time felt even more personal, as I used to live in Baton Rouge and drove and worked where the shooting took place.  And in the time I was there, I fell deeply in love with the people, the city and the state of Louisiana.

I woke early this morning and immediately checked the news for updates and prayed.

A short time later, I was reminded that exactly three years ago today I posted an article about pain and anger as I tried to process the Trevon Martin case.

  • Three more years of conflict.
  • Three more years of finger pointing and blaming.

Clearly – What we’re doing isn’t working, as the conflicts are becoming more frequent and more violent.