Frequent and open communication: the #2 best practice in change management
Here’s a tool to create powerful change communication, namely The Roundtable, a la ‘Kitchentable Conversation,’ as explained by Rick Wolfe of PostStone in a recent interview:
“I’ve simply tried to make our business conversations as much like a real life conversation as much as possible. The phrase that we usually use is to just call it a “kitchen table conversation.”
I would put a kitchen table, roundtable, at the very centre of change management. I think it’s a more efficient and effective tool than most of the other change tools available because it lets us strip away what isn’t important and really zero in on our conversation with each other on the things that are important.
One of the key purposes of kitchen table conversations is to be preparing the ground for action to understand what resources are going to be needed to make that action happen, and to make sure those resources are available. To understand what kind of commitments are going to be needed and to know what steps need to take place so that those commitments can be agreed.
I love its reliability. I love its power. Time and time again, when you sit down at the table and ask people a big question that they find to be an exciting question, you can be really confident that some wonderful answers are going to come out of it, and that if you ask people in a respectful way, they’re going to take action based on those credentials.
A kitchen table is that place where we let our guard down, where we really listen to people, where we really share with people, where we disagree with people not because we think they’re wrong, we disagree with them because we know that by really wrestling with the issues together, we can arrive at the truth.
The kitchen table conversation succeeds because of hospitality. And the host always has a special responsibility to make sure that the guests at the table feel that they’re… that this is a hospitable place.
You have to make sure that the shy people get a chance to get a word in, but those people who are larger than life are looking for you to help them tone it down – and I mean that quite seriously. All the larger than life people I’ve ever met loved people and they just get carried away and need a bit of help to know that. They need more feedback than the rest of us do to make sure that they leave room for the rest of us to be in the conversation.
People like wrestling at the kitchen table. That’s one of the reasons we come to the kitchen table, for a good rambunctious, lively, laughter-filled conversation.
I think that organizations would be able to move with more speed, that they would be more adaptable, more flexible, that even though they were moving with more speed, that the people on the team would be having more fun.”
Rick Wolfe of PostStone is a management consultant. Companies bring him in to help them find answers to big questions and turn those answers into action.
For a solution focused perspective on using the kitchen table for dynamic dialogue, here’s a case on asking the right questions