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The Power of Candor

Developing Your Leaders: The Power of a Disorienting Dilemma

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So now that your leaders have the data on how they actually behave in conversations, the next step is to help them convert it into valuable self-knowledge for themselves. So now you might be thinking, “Todd, why is this even necessary? I mean, it’ll be obvious when our leaders look at their own data, where their gaps and opportunities are, right?” Unfortunately, not really, because most leaders don’t have clear criteria that they carry around in their heads and a systematic way of analyzing their conversations that’s based upon what actually works in the real world. So when they end up looking at their own conversational data, they’re going to struggle to figure out what’s working, what’s not, and what’s missing in terms of their approach. And we help your leaders solve this problem by sharing with them intuitive tools from my real work process, into which we’ve embedded findings from our research, which demonstrates that effective conversations follow a particular systemic pattern and require a particular set of behaviors. And then we show them how to use these intuitive tools to analyze their own conversations.

And this self-analysis quickly produces two self-awareness breakthroughs. Number one, they begin to see how they’re contributing to their own frustrations and failures, how their own behavior is preventing them from getting the results that they desire.

And number two, they begin to see that under stress, under real life pressure, they behave in ways which violate their own good principles. For example, people who really prize candor start to realize that they’re more conflict-avoidant than they realize. People who really care about curiosity and learning begin to see that they’re more controlling and competitive than they knew. And all of this creates what the founder of Transformational Learning, Jack Mezirow calls a disorienting dilemma because it poses to them a very provocative question. Why on earth do I behave in ways that are both ineffective and inconsistent with my own values?

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