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"We need to talk" - Improving the Quality of Conversations

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Joakim Karlsson

on 23 September 2013

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Transcript of "We need to talk" - Improving the Quality of Conversations

There is a time and space for every kind of talk
"We need to talk"
About the authors
A Map of Conversations
Creating the context
About the authors
Lynda Gratton
A Map of Conversations

Creating the context
Organizational change is not easy, and is often met with resistance from employees’. Increases the feel of insecurity and change can bring up feeling of anxiety.
An example: “It took a while for people to develop the confidence and comfort to use the flags but, once they did, the quality of the conversation rapidly improved.”
The authors did not suggest how Map of Conversation can be used depending on the culture of the organization (e.g. bureaucratic vs. open-door).
Improving the Quality of Conversation
Sumantra Ghoshal

London Business School
Assoc. prof in Organizational Behavior
Director of Human Resource Strategy at PA Consulting
Doctorate in individual psychology
London Business School
Prof. of Strategic and International Management
Founding dean of Indian School of Business, Hyderabad
Doctoral degrees from MIT and Harvard
5 year study
Listening to conversations in organizations
Data collection through observation
Some influences with a etnographic study
Dehydrated Talk
Low Emotional Authenticity
Low Analytical Rationality
Neither analytical rigour nor emotinal authenticity
Set pieces
Tight agenda
hierarchical conversation
Ping-pong game
Manager wins
Subordinate loses
Intimate Exchange
Disciplined Debate
Intellectual rigour
Disciplined questioning
Availability of relevant information within the group
Low Emotional Authenticity
High Analytical Rationality
High Emotional Authenticity
Low Analytical Rationality
Emotional conversation
Repersonalize the workplace
Create space & time
Creative Dialogue
High Emotional Authenticity
High Analytical Rationality
Rationality and emotions
Topics are broad, relevant & personally meaningful
Personal engagement of participants in the topic
Mutual familiarity & trust of group members
Institutionalize Questioning & Doubt
Companies with internal context where any doubt is seen as ignorance and weakness. Questioning is seen as exercise of authority. This could discourage ritualized and dehydrated talk
Creating good conversations through institutionalization of questioning and doubt as a common way the organization works.
High focus on purpose is suggested to not build a too politicised organization.
Curiosity and inquiry could be diminished by managers that think that they have all the right answers. May discourage good conversations.
Create time and space for conversations
Lack of time and space builds barriers for good conversations
Close association is preferred in terms of space. Creates more informal talks.
Creative talks occur when people have time. Creation of dedicated space for such talks encourages people to have conversations
Legitimize big, broad questions
Should include questions that make people think
For example: "What does 'work' mean, and what defines a great place to work?"
Those questions are argued to increase people's imaginational and intellectual thinking
Leads to increased bonds between people and renewal of the identity of the institution
Develop some new rules and forums
Generation of rules to decrease the inefficiency and creation of good conversations. E.g no power points, black flags for people that prevents good conversation.
Creation of forums to develop new conversations
Institutionalized forums discourage changed patterns in conversations
Changed patterns of conversations are encouraged by conversations between persons with different focus areas and habits
How can organizations improve their conversations?

Aim for the kind of conversation that your organization needs
Dare to break new ground. Creating time, space and rules to support your conversations
Do not limit your view of KM to IT systems and plattforms
a presentation by Joakim Karlsson, Bernadette Chua & Mert Curku
Full transcript