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Workstorming Paperback – 13 Sep 2016
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Whatever your role or gender, Workstorming offers a practical toolkit to increase the odds of getting your conversations right. --Sharon Doherty, Global Organization and People Development Director, Vodafone
Workstorming is packed with practical insights. Rob reminds us that if we listen, pause and focus on meaningful conversations we can be at our most impactful, not only in our workplace but also in our personal lives. --Ian Buchanan, Global Chief Operating Officer, Barclaycard
We have been lucky to have Rob help us grow our company into a leading and award-winning player in a highly competitive market by putting into practice the advice he outlines so well in this wonderful book. By reading Workstorming, you too can benefit from that wisdom. --Philip Dobree, Founder and Chief Executive, BAFTA- and EMMY-winning Jellyfish Pictures
About the Author
Rob Kendall has worked with over 70 organizations, including the 2012 London Olympics, Vodaphone, Virgin and BBC Worldwide. He is the author of Blamestorming, the award-winning guide to good conversation.
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As a side note, with its emphasis on mindfulness and connecting to values, anyone into ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) will find this book very ACT-consistent and a really worthwhile read.
This book provides some excellent guidance for anyone who spends the majority of their working day speaking and listening.
For me, what comes out strongly from this little self-help-gem-for-the-workplace, is ACTIVE listening. It is not simply listening, but an active pursuit. How many times have we all found ourselves in a tense conversation, only to find that we are so precoccupied with the next point we want to make, that we have long since stopped listening to the person with whom we are supposed to be having a conversation (note: as opposed to the person we are TALKING TO). Only through listening carefully, can empathy be built and solutions genuinely arrived at in a spirit of shared co-operation and understanding.
Kendall uses a number of scenarios to illustrate his various key points, but clear communication is all.
As he says repeatedly - Questions, not answers. Explore what others need and don't be in a rush to feel obliged to provide answers.
Handy size, well set out, broad-ranging and though provoking. Recommended.
I really enjoyed this book, which is both readable and practical, with great suggestions. It covers such topics as listening before speaking, adapting your style, valuing gender differences and managing confrontation. How can you ask brilliant questions, stop others closing you down when you are talking or avoid getting your wires crossed? This is a fantastic and very useful book, which has given me lots of good ideas and has improved my confidence.
It is interesting seeing the warning signs in that conversation – the symptoms of where it went wrong. The book sets them out. In theory this allows you to identify them and stop an argument before it develops.
The book lists the following warning signs:
• “Blamestorming” (justifying our own behaviour and blaming others). Intriguingly, it says that there are two forms – behind your back and face-to-face (the Boulton/Campbell argument being the latter). Regarding the former, the book says that “in doing so, we seek to take the moral high ground, knocking the other person down a peg or two and portraying ourselves as the innocent victim or the plucky hero. The more support we gather for our point of view, the more vindicated we feel in our opinion”. It makes for uncomfortable reading as it is done behind your back – and you must guard against doing it yourself.
• “Escalation”. This is “where your emotions take over, inflaming your conversation to the point where logical thinking and rational discussion are thrown to the wind”.
• “Yes, but…”. This is what is says - one or both sides find themselves saying “yet but” at least twice in a conversation. It is a method of blocking a point and a sign that the person saying it is not listening.
• “Dominatricks”. This is where the normal flow of a discussion breaks down because you are trying to take control of it. A symptom is interrupting the other person without taking time to listen to what they are saying and give it due consideration.
• “Mixed messages”. This is where both parties come away not knowing what has been agreed or even just said, and where they make assumptions to fill in the gaps.
There is a chapter entitled “Demanding Clarity”, the purpose of which is to avoid the above “mixed messages”. The author uses the real-life example of the crash on Tenerife in 1977 when two 747s collided on the runway, partly apparently due to a misunderstanding between Air Traffic Control and flight crew. The author says that inferences and assumptions happen quickly in conversation – while we can’t stop them, we can check that they mean what we think they mean.
There is a chapter on negotiating agreements. I didn’t find anything new in it, personally – well, it is only 10 pages long. But it is a useful recap.
One negative point: the size of the type (in the physical book) is tiny. I have put the book up against my computer screen and would estimate that it is equivalent to Times New Roman 9. Nine! (Of course, if you buy the Kindle version, this will not be a problem as you can alter the size of the type).
I found myself applying what I had read within days and it has made a difference to my communication skills.