I've been reminded several times this month about the positive purpose played by the kinds of SMARTer conversations we provoke at Jazzthink.
I saw a gratifying transformation in how the students who worked with me in the Douglas College COACHing Skills courses saw their potential for showing up better in their conversations at work. As they learned and practiced COACHing Skills, they experienced the value of being calm, curious, and appreciative.
I spent a couple of wonderful afternoons with supervisors and trainers in a government agency who found the jazz metaphor fresh, stimulating, and challenging. It helped them, according to their evaluations, pay increased attention to how they showed up in their conversations. In addition, they saw new potential for having a positive influence on a day-to-day basis through SMARTer conversations.
Then I ran across an article in which Stephen Denning outlined the paradigm shift he sees happening among leaders/managers in flourishing organizations. He went back to the original idea of a paradigm shift articulated by Thomas Kuhn in 1962.
Here are Denning's five key features of the shift taking place in the conversations that shape organizations:
- adding value to customers as the goal of the organization;
- nurturing self-organizing teams as the role of managers;
- aligning and coordinating work and contribution as the desired result;
- transparency, continuous improvement, and sustainability as the core values; and
- shifting from vertical commands to horizontal conversations as the primary mode of operation.
Horizontal conversations are SMARTer conversations. They build self-confidence, attract allies, make sense of situations, generate wise decisions, align the best talent for the diverse tasks, and monitor results to discover ways to improve.
If managers/leaders create the space for such conversations to shape their organization's culture, they will create the space for a successful organization to emerge and flourish.