148. Conviction and Compassion: How to Have Hard Conversations | Think Fast, Talk Smart:...

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148. Conviction and Compassion: How to Have Hard Conversations | Think Fast, Talk Smart:...

Introduction (00:00:00)

  • Stanford Executive Education programs offer insights from Stanford GSB professors and bring together top leaders from around the globe.
  • Having crucial, critical, and constructive conversations can be challenging.

Ingredients for Entrepreneurial Success (00:01:04)

  • Entrepreneurs are those who seek opportunities regardless of their current resources.
  • Entrepreneurs should get comfortable with the domain they are in.
  • "When great management meets a bad business, the business always wins."

Myths About Entrepreneurship (00:02:38)

  • The common perception that entrepreneurs are a certain personality type (bombastic, attracted to risk, egotistical) is a myth.
  • The best entrepreneurs are thoughtful and try to minimize risk.
  • The risk that entrepreneurs assume is execution-sensitive rather than inherent.

Can Entrepreneurs Be Made? (00:03:30)

  • Entrepreneurship is not limited to a certain personality type.
  • Entrepreneurs can be made through education and training.
  • Entrepreneurship is a skill that can be learned and developed.

Challenges in Communication (00:04:07)

  • One challenge is when new information arises in a tough conversation, individuals may hesitate to change their position due to concerns about their image or the organization's needs.
  • Another challenge is being brief, especially when uncertain or nervous, leading to elliptical speech and repetition.
  • Lastly, it's difficult for individuals not to make difficult conversations all about themselves rather than focusing on the other person and the issue at hand.

Imposter Syndrome (00:06:19)

  • Imposter syndrome is a common challenge where individuals doubt their abilities and feel like they don't deserve their success.
  • To avoid falling into this trap, individuals should:
    • Be open to new information and willing to change their position when necessary.
    • Practice brevity and convey conviction in their communication.
    • Focus on the other person and their needs rather than making the conversation about themselves.

Managing Difficult Conversations (00:07:38)

  • Novelty can contribute to feeling unqualified, but reminding oneself of past successes and traits can help overcome this.
  • Students may struggle to translate recommendations into effective action, especially when initiating challenging conversations.
  • Setting the tone and first few things to say is crucial in starting challenging conversations.
  • Use "we" to create a non-adversarial environment and focus on finding a mutually beneficial solution.

Role-Playing Scenario (00:10:15)

  • When having difficult conversations, approach them as opportunities for problem-solving and collaboration, rather than making declarations.
  • Clearly state your objectives, such as addressing cultural issues and fostering a supportive environment.
  • Focus on the relationship and the impact of actions on the organization's culture, encouraging open communication and constructive feedback.
  • Acknowledge concerns and disagreements, emphasizing the importance of supporting the organization's decisions and culture.
  • Be mindful of your role as a leader and the culture you are shaping, ensuring that you don't create adversarial relationships.
  • Be open to feedback and willing to learn how to communicate your views effectively.
  • If you disagree with a decision, bring your concerns to the decision-maker privately after the decision is made.

The Value of Listening (00:17:37)

  • Listening is important in crucial conversations as it shows respect and a willingness to understand the other person's perspective.
  • Pauses during conversations demonstrate respect and allow the other person to speak.
  • Openness and valuing what the other person has to say are essential in effective listening.

Career Advice (00:18:58)

  • When choosing a career, it's helpful to think about where you want to be in 10 years and the context in which you want to work.
  • Consider whether you want to be in charge, a partner, or an advisor, and whether you want to run a business or be part of one.
  • Once you have a general idea of your career goals, you can start to identify logical paths to get there and the skills and experiences you need to acquire.

The Final Three Questions (00:21:57)

  • There is no safe route in careers, risks are involved in every choice.
  • People tend to play to their strengths and stay in their comfort zones, but it's important to be more strategic and take risks.
  • Be careful with the words you choose, always try to be better and more sensitive.
  • Students can teach valuable lessons through their phrasing and sensitivity.
  • Warren Buffett is a great communicator who can be whimsical, light, and direct.
  • He is approachable and credible, and he constantly redefines the edge of his competence.
  • Directness with respect: Directness can be combined with respect to have effective conversations.
  • Strength with warmth: Decisiveness (strength) can be conveyed with warmth and a willingness to listen to others.
  • Don't mistake decisiveness for arrogance: Decisiveness should not be confused with arrogance or a lack of respect for others' opinions.

Conclusion (00:26:02)

  • Vague communication, especially in medical and business settings, is not compassionate.
  • Difficult conversations require practice and preparation, just like a performance art.
  • Practicing the words you will say beforehand is essential for effective communication.
  • Stanford Executive Education offers on-campus programs to help leaders refine their approach and stay ahead in the ever-changing landscape.
  • Interested individuals can apply at grow.stanford.edu/slcu.

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