This one was recommended by my professional development consultant to help me deal with a situation at work. Here’s the entire method in 314 words or less:
THE BIG IDEA FROM EACH STEP
Choose What and If
1. What: Ask yourself what you really want. You can talk about the content, the pattern, or the relationship. To stay focused, ask what you really want.
2. If: Are you talking yourself out of a crucial confrontation? Don’t let fear substitute for reason. Think carefully not just about the risks of having the confrontation but also about the risks of not having it.
Master My Stories
Instead of assuming the worst and then acting in ways that confirm your story, stop and tell the rest of the story. Ask: Why would a reasonable person not do what he or she promised? What role might I have played? When you see the other person as a human being rather than a villain, you’re ready to begin.
Describe the Gap
Make it safe by starting with the facts and describing the gap between what was expected and what was observed. Tentatively share your story only after you’ve shared your facts. End with a question to help diagnose.
Make It Motivating and Easy
After you’ve paused to diagnose, listen for motivation and ability. Remember you don’t need power. In fact, power puts you at risk. Instead, make it motivating and make it easy. To do that, explore the six sources of influence. Remember to consider others and things as possible influences.
Agree on a Plan and Follow Up
Remember who does what by when and then follow up. This idea is simple and serves as its own reminder. Then ask to make sure you’re not leaving out any details or missing any possible barriers.
Stay Focused and Flexible
As other issues come up, don’t meander; consciously choose whether to change the discussion to the new issue. Weigh the new problem. If it’s more serious or time-sensitive, deal with it. If it is not, don’t get sidetracked.
According to the self assessment at the back of the book, my weak areas are “Choose What and If” and “Stay Focused and Flexible.” I should:
1. Not put off certain discussions longer than I should.
2. Make sure I talk about the root problem when people disappoint me.
3. Stop talking myself out of holding certain discussions by telling myself that it will be better to cope with the behavior than to risk an ugly confrontation.
4. Not get sidetracked when talking to others about problems.
5. Know what to do with new issues that get brought up during a crucial confrontation.
6. Know how to respond when people get angry in the middle of a crucial confrontation.
7. Stop letting people off the hook when they disappoint me.