4 Ways Leaders Turn Conversations into Strategic Learning Opportunities

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How do leaders turn a conversation into a strategic learning opportunity?

For a room full of leaders this week in downtown Chicago, that was the lesson on full display during the annual Global Leadership Summit (GLS) debrief.

From across the United States, many of the host pastors from the approximately 300 GLS sites gathered to discuss learnings from the 2014 event, held August 14-15.

But under the careful leadership of Bill Hybels, they also had front row seats for a leadership clinic on how to turn a conversation into a strategic learning opportunity.

Specifically, they saw Bill demonstrate four vital feedback skills.

1.  Affirm everything affirmable

As soon as the debrief session opened these leaders wanted to tackle every element of the Summit which could be improved.

But before he would allow the conversation to go there, Bill insisted that we take time to chronicle everything that had gone right.

The payoff is a much more well-rounded, and accurate, view as to what actually transpired.

2.  Ensure candor and kindness

Bill made the ground-rules abundantly clear. Feedback was to be provided with utmost candor. This would be a room of truth-tellers.

That said, it would also be a room of kindness. Individuals would not be attacked; only ideas would be under the microscope.

With that established the free-flow of opinions became rigorous, and safe.

3.  Discern what is actionable immediately

From time to time an idea would be shared that required no further debate or consideration.

All that was required was action.

“I think we can move on this right away. Would you all agree?” Bill would say.

Leaders never miss a chance to nail an immediate action step.

4.  Discern what you need to let simmer for a while

Several times during the debrief an idea would be raised which sounded good, but which wisdom dictated required further consideration before being acted on.

Bill demonstrated that leaders must have the discernment to know when an idea needs this extra seasoning.

Leaders have dozens of conversations every day.

But effective leaders know that, with a little intentionality, you can gain far more than a simple exchange of pleasantries.

Try employing these skills that Bill displayed with such mastery.

You might just discover a leadership nugget in the conversation.

How do you get the most leadership milage out of your conversations?


the author

Scott Cochrane

Vice President- International, Global Leadership Network. Love Jesus, Nora, Adam & Robin, Amy, Dave, Willow, Olive & Charlie and John, Fiona, Will & Harvey. Lifelong learner.

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