Last night at the dinner table one of my children made a negative comment towards their sibling. On another occasion, I gave an instruction to one of my children undermining what my wife had instructed them to do earlier.

It’s not any different in organizations. Last week while working with a client, one senior leader made a negative comment towards another while sitting around the conference table. “You should focus more on selling and less on responsibilities like recruiting, etc…”. In another instance, a senior leader was given a role, but later was undermined by a peer when he was not included in a key meeting related to that role.

You don’t have to earn a certification in ‘crucial conversations’ or learn the ‘top 10 tips and tricks for skillfully dealing with people’ to successfully deal with these types of situations. It takes character or acting with integrity by everyone.

Avoid over-complicating it – keep it simple.

Standards already exist that you’re expected to follow – civil law and school rules are a few.

The simple standard I’m suggesting is to model WHO you are, or how you are characterized, with excellence, whether it’s your family identity or the organizational culture you have captured on paper.

How? One of several options is to ask for a ‘time out’ or a ‘do over’ when things are not going well like in the examples above. Then, bring the focus back to modeling WHO you are on paper (even if it’s only a set of family rules or organizational ground rules) and begin the conversation again by suggesting, “let’s model the ground rules.”

Whether sitting around the dinner or conference table, keep it simple to optimize results.

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