Posted by APM on 26th Jun 2012
Following his previous two presentations on dialogue gap, Mr. Peter Nixon has accepted APMs invitation to return. He shared with us another topic entitled How are organisations responding to dialogue gap? at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club on 19 June 2012. The event was attended by 29 members and guests.
Peter is qualified as a Chartered Accountant. He is the founder and managing director of Potential Dialogue. Since the release of his book Dialogue Gap: Why Communication Isnt Enough and What We Can Do About It, Fast at the YPO-WPO Global Leadership Summit in Singapore this February, Peter has received an overwhelming affirmation of the problem of dialogue gap. Every week since launch of his publication, Peter has been invited to provide training, train the trainers, conduct workshops, dialogue assessments and live case studies with student leaders, professional institutes, banking sectors and chambers either in person or through radio, TV, Webinars in Hong Kong, Indonesia and Singapore.
In the presentation, Peter focused on what leaders and organizations were doing to overcome our declining ability to converse effectively and resolve our problems. To begin, Peter defined Dialogue Gap exists when the quality of our dialogues falls short of what we need to solve our problems at work, at home and in society. As in the previous presentation, he reiterated that we should get the right people to dialogue about the right issues, in the right way, at the right time and in the right venue. If you need change, you need dialogue. It is that simple. But the question remains: How to sustain effective dialogue? Peter suggested space be created for dialogue and dialogue methods, e.g., Challenge Mapping, be used. Note Challenge Mapping invites stakeholders to identify their main problems, challenges and opportunities. He revisited the priority challenges (How Might We (HMW) make project manager dialogue easier?) faced by APM members during the presentation in May 2011. The Challenge Map indicated that the top three difficult issues to be resolved were: HMW achieve project outcomes? HMW reduce frustrations? and HMW develop trust between stakeholders?
Peter suggested five ways to solve the Dialogue Gap. They were: (1) Build your presence, (2) Respect ourselves and others (3) Express ourselves effectively through voicing, (4) Suspend our ego, judgments, beliefs, assumptions and attachments, and (5) Absorb message by listening deeply, watching body language. Peter then introduced different kinds of leadership behaviors. Peoples behavior changes with the situation, and they do what they think is best, given the situation. They are situational. In other cases, behavior change can work better when people are asked what to do rather than tell them what to do. Behavior changes when people want a gain or want to reduce pain. Types of behaviors via different channels (through personal action, through other people or through the system) may have different effects (accelerating, sustaining or blocking) on work performance. For example, taking initiative via personal action, creating and developing teams via other people, and coordinating and integrating activities via the system will accelerate performance. On the other hand, criticizing others, conflict avoidance, and responsibility avoidance, correspondingly, will block the performance.
Showing little tolerance for people, getting angry with people, putting down people in public, and showing little support for colleagues are typical ways of blocking behaviors. Peter further reminded that the huge challenge is to minimize the blocking behaviors. The key is to HMW improve trust between project stakeholders and improve project stakeholder relationship. When things go wrong, how do you react? In the words of Peter: The Solution is in the Dialogue.