First impressions…multiple impressions

We’ve heard it before : you only get one chance to make a first impression. That first impression does make an impact however if you give up there then you’ll really make an impression, a poor one. In every interaction you have an opportunity to strengthen or weaken those impressions and in turn those relationships.

For new opportunities we all strive to make that positive impression but what about not so new opportunities. Why not make a plan to change course, try something different. The challenging situations are the ones that prove to ourselves and to others what we are about. I double dog dare you to think of that poor relationship, that challenging person and see if you can move the needle just one notch.

It’s easy when things are good but when things aren’t as good, well, that’s when you know you’ve developed some skill.

Talk is cheap so here’s something from DDI (Development Dimensions International) that might help in your next interaction.

Just take little bits, like each piece of an agenda item, at a time and follow this until agreement…

Interaction Guidelines from DDI

The way to steer each piece of the discussion is to ‘Check for Understanding’ or if getting derailed ‘Make Procedural Suggestion’ (that suggestion part is important, no one like to be told what to do!).

We’re humans so this isn’t a program, you’ll need to remember your human personal skills too. Here’s the best summarized list…

DDI Key Principles…great stuff!

Oh golly, they had some good stuff posted so here’s their sample scenario:

Interaction Guidelines Key Principles
OPEN: Describe purpose and importance

The purpose of our discussion is to plan how we will implement the new process for your work station. This is important to keep you safe and productive.

Empathy: I know it was distressing for you to work with a potential safety issue.
CLARIFY: Seek and share information, issues, concerns about the situation

What can you tell me about the issue?

Share: When I first started working on the line early in my career, it was an adjustment for me to always be thinking about working safely with equipment like this. I remember how anxious I felt.
DEVELOP: Solicit and discuss ideas and needed support

What ideas do you have for how and when we can address this?

Esteem: I was impressed with how you coached our new team member. He was able to become proficient and avoid the safety issue much more quickly because of your help.

Involvement: Which option would be your first choice?

AGREE: Specify actions and steps to track progress

So, we’ve agreed that I will contact maintenance to schedule them to work with you on Friday. I’ll join you for a test on Monday.

Support: I can give that task to another team member so you have enough time to work with maintenance.
CLOSE: Summarize and express confidence

I think your plan will work very well.

Esteem: I appreciate the thought you put into this and your willingness to try a new approach.

Does it seem simple? Well it is because it is what we all do when we’re at our best. Add in some stress, history, deadlines and other common workplace hazards and it’s funny how we throw these skills out the window.

Did I mentioned I’m a certified DDI Facilitator? I’ve seen this stuff work like magic in high stress, high performance and high growth organizations.