Guiding Principles

DialogueWORKS provides learning solutions to some of the world's finest companies in the creation, design, and implementation of training and organizational development solutions.

Our Guiding Principles are part of the reason these organizations trust us to help them achieve more significant results. If these principles form the foundation for how you work, manage, and lead others, perhaps you would be interested in our services. We certainly hope so! Know that we take the opportunity to collaborate and serve you seriously.

Our Guiding Principles are based on the foundation of effective conversational and thinking practices.

Be Aware Broaden Perspective Seek Understanding Get Real Create Respect Build Relationships Achieve Results

Be Aware - Look to Learn

Easier said than done! With all the personal and professional changes and demands placed on our shoulders, it is difficult to keep our head above water. Sometimes we become so mired on the past while putting out fires in the present that we don't see clearly what's happening in the present. We let the obvious obscure the obvious.

A physician once heard the nurses at the nursing station complain about the patient in 303. When he asked what the problem was, he was told, "She's lazy. She always asks me to help her to the bathroom when she's strong enough to make it herself." Still another nurse offered, "She always asks me to turn on her TV and put it on a certain channel when the remote is attached to the table at her bedside." The doctor shook his head and asked them, "Did you know that she is blind?"

In our interactions with others, we usually don't see what's happening in the moment. We lack an object perspective of ourselves, others, and what's happening in our conversations.

Being able to look and learn from what is happening in the moment will increase your awareness of your thinking and behavior as well as that of others in any given situation.

Being able to look and learn demands that we be both an observer and a participant in our interactions. Managing the dynamics present in every conversation is the key to improving results. See it, manage it, get it right. Get results!

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Next: Broaden Perspective

Broaden Perspective - Challenge Reality

Our thinking achieves everything we say and do! Knowing that should cause us to stop and check the accuracy of our thinking. Just because we think what we think doesn't make it so. We are quick to pass judgment, make interpretations, and draw assumptions without even realizing we're doing so. Most of us are unconscious of what's going on in our head.

The owner of a major US brewery was once confronted with the feedback in the face of falling profits that people were frustrated with the pop-tops on his beer cans that the tops broke before people could open the can. In response, he exclaimed, "If they like our beer, they'll figure out a way to get into the can!" So much for an increased perspective.

Effective individuals and leaders examine their own reality and learn from the experience and perspective of others. Such people seek feedback, identify the underlying assumptions, balance competing demands, and creatively apply what they learn to solving problems and making better decisions.

Those who desire to broaden their perspective are learners. Learners talk to important stakeholders, set aside their differences, and engage and involve others in creating desired results. Learners make mistakes, learn from their experiences, change, implement, and then learn some more.

Although learning takes time, the alternatives take longer. Learners understand the challenges they and their organizations face. They learn how to learn. They create better, smarter, faster solutions. We teach people how to learn!

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Next: Seek Understanding

Seek Understanding - Ask and Listen

Whether we want to improve our respect, relationships, or results, we don't exist in a vacuum. All that we hope to improve or accomplish is achieved with others. Unfortunately, we often assume that we know best, so it never dawns on us to seek further understanding or clarification.

Asking and listening to what others have to offer increases learning, creates respect, builds relationships, and improves results.

Recently, a young African couple began attending our Sunday services. Ruth announced to the women in the congregation that her husband and she were soon to be proud parents. The ladies of the church in an attempt to be charitable told Ruth that they wanted to meet with her and give her a shower. Ruth accepted the invitation. Then the evening before the event, Ruth frantically met with our Pasteur and told him, "You've got to help me! I don't want to take a shower with the ladies of the church no matter how nice they are!"

If only Ruth had taken the time to check out her assumptions, ask a few questions, and listen to the responses

Everyone wants to be asked for their opinions on issues that matter. Likewise, we all want to be listened to particularly when asked for our opinion.

Seek Understanding. Ask, listen, and learn!

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Next: Get Real

Get Real - Increase Candor

People usually know more about what really works and what doesn't work for than their leaders. So why don't people openly share?

In a team meeting, a leader asked for his team's perspective on a current challenge. After everyone took a turn to express their perspective, the leader said, "Next time I'll ask the experts! Now, here's what you're going to do!" The heads dropped, the eyes rolled, and everyone clammed up and shut up from there on.

When people are asked why they are so unwilling to share what they really know, they state fear of the consequences, reprisal, hurting someone's feelings, creating conflict, losing one's job, making work more difficult, losing a valued relationship, not being respected, and being viewed as a trouble maker. Whether these perceptions are real or not is irrelevant. What is important is that these perceptions are real in the mind of the individual. So who in their right mind would move their mouth to remove all doubt? No one!

Obvious creating respect and building relationships is fundamental to people feeling safe to open up and share what they really think.

Candor is further enhanced by respectfully being candid with others, asking questions to explore perspectives, and listening to what is being offered.

Be candid! Encourage candor! Value other perspectives! Improve your results!

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Next: Create Respect

Create Respect - Value People

At the beginning of a Dialogue session, the facilitator once asked the group of managers which communication problem the group wanted to tackle. The group responded, "We want to be able to tell our people they are SOB's and not have them take it personally." No wonder they had morale and employee turnover problems.

Effective leaders and organizations value the individual.

People want to add value. They want to learn, grow and develop. They want to be independent and contribute in a meaningful way.

People want to know. They want to hear how they're doing and what they can do better.

People want respect. They want to be spoken to and treated with dignity and honor as unique individuals and contributors.

We know of a manger, who entered his own team meeting and began yelling and blaming everyone around the table of stealing his thumb drive. "I know one of you idiots took my thumb drive to copy that report template we created last week in our meeting! Now tell me, who took it?! Tell me-or I'll cancel the meeting!" No one said a thing. He cancelled the meeting.

Ironically, the thumb drive was hanging from a lanyard around his neck. When we asked why no one spoke up, here's what we heard, "He does this all the time! No one wants to point out his mistakes and make him look more ridiculous than he already looked! We were all afraid of the consequences."

So much for respect, relationship, and improved results!

Smart companies value people as their greatest asset. Great performance and high work satisfaction result from people valuing people. Believe in it! Create it! Give it!

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Next: Build Relationships

Build Relationships - Connect with Others

People want to connect. They want to know that others care about them. They also want to trust that others have their best interest at heart

A CEO of a major manufacturing company had a chocolate budget. Every Friday he would take a fresh box of chocolates out on the plant floor. He would wander around and introduce himself to the individual workers while offering them a sweet. He would ask them their names and how things were going with their work and what challenges they were currently facing. Invariably, he learned more about was going on in the business than he did from his vice presidents. Until the day, he retired he went out of his way to recognize and call people by name that he had met.

Wise leaders recognize people for who they are and the value they add. They know their people as individuals, communicate concerns and successes, and take time to engage them and benefit from their experience and expertise.

Learn to connect and build the type of relationships that everyone wants. Relationships build loyalty, increase respect, and improve trust! Make the effort! Be authentic! Connect with others! We can help you build relationships.

Welcome to DialogueWORKS!
Next: Achieve Results

Achieve Results - Foster Collaboration

Organizations don't perform, people do.

As people think together in an organizational culture which fosters learning and collaboration, improved results occur. Where fear resides, people simply want to be told what to do or keep silent and let the consequences of their non-participation take its toll.

At the end of a Dialogue session we conducted in a small electrical generating station, two participants made their way to the front of the class as others were leaving. Absent their classmates, they openly admitted that they hadn't spoken to each other for nearly 23 years because of some long-forgotten offense. So much for collaboration, for furthering the success of the enterprise.

Where there is fear of being wrong, of being put down, or of suffering the consequences, collaboration is squelched, blame presides, and fresh perspectives remain buried.

Conflict arises because of diversity of thought and experience as well as competing values. Leaders accelerate through conflict through collaboration. People learn, reconsider their views and broaden their perspectives. Get it together! Think together! Work together! Improve your results!

We will show you how to improve results!

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