Why You Should Have the Conversation You’ve Been Avoiding

You’re not getting the results you want.

I may not know you, but I know in some area of your life, you’re falling short of achieving what you want.

Me too.

All of us are stuck somewhere in our lives — personally or professionally — and we’re not getting the results we’re after.

Maybe you’ve thought something like this:

“I really want to get better performance from my team.”

“I want the quality of my projects to be better.”

“I want my neighbour to park his car anywhere but on my grass.”

“I just want my 16-year-old daughter to turn down her music just a little bit.”

Major or minor, we all face problems we can’t seem to move beyond. Our circumstances may look different, but our dilemma is the same.

If we’re struggling to get the results we want, it’s because of a conversation… a crucial conversation. In these conversations, the stakes are high, opinions differ, and we have strong emotions.

But if the conversation isn’t productive (or isn’t happening at all), we stay stuck.

The Conversation that Never Happened

A few years ago, I worked with a hospital that was stuck too. I specifically worked with the nurse manager whose team was stuck in their performance.

As we talked about her team, she described one of the nurses who worked for her as “dangerously incompetent.” Rather than addressing this issue, the nurse manager regularly sent other nurses into patients’ rooms after the incompetent nurse left to double-check her work and ensure patient safety.

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to be treated at that hospital.

This manager was stuck, this incompetent nurse was stuck, the team was stuck, and there was a patient whose life was at risk.

Why was this happening?

There was an avoided conversation.

Finding the Conversation that Makes the Difference

Think about where you’re stuck — places where you haven’t been able to make progress lately.

What conversations are you not having?

Are you shutting down instead of dealing with the issue?

Who’s being hurt because you lack the willingness to confront the issue?

What inconveniences do you face because there’s no conversation? Are people in your organisation held back by someone who needs to hear the truth?

An effective conversation holds the potential to make your situation different.

Think about the ways your team’s performance could change, the improvements you’d see in the quality of your work, and how the relationships in your house and neighborhood could improve.

If great results can happen because of a conversation, isn’t it worth having?

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