Establishing common ground provides the bridge for purposeful conversations.

Core Beliefs

Firstly, check that your mindset is not clouded by bias and assumptions based on your prior experience with the person with whom you are about to have a conversation.  Approach the coming conversation as a new and fresh experience.

Prepare well by having evidence of the issues you are hoping to discuss at hand.  BUT do not share these unless the other person’s blindspot convinces you to share the evidence with them.

Be compassionate with all your focus on re-setting the other person by sharing your perspective and highlighting the impact they are having on you and the team.

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This is a general framework to organize your conversation without over-scripting.

  • Interests – what do we both want?  Where is our common ground?
  • Assumptions – what do we both think? What blockages are present that distorts our realities?
  • Emotions – what do we want to both feel at the end of our conversation? What actions will lead from those feelings?
When faced with a difficult conversation, most of us try to avoid them altogether. But when we do that, we miss tremendous opportunities for growth.


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