Dec 17, 2004

Creating Accountability and Commitment

Peter Block's training firm Designed Learning has a very interesting item on it's site (registration required)

Summary of the Six Conversations that Build Accountability and Commitment
These six conversations are founded on a sincere belief that all change and transformation is linguistic in nature. That focusing on people's potential, and their best nature is much better than solving problems of the past or people's deficits. And that by having these conversations, we can create a community that helps organizations succeed beyond average performance.

The Invitation Conversation- Transformation occurs through choice, not mandate. Invitation is the call to create an alternative future. The leadership task is to name the debate, issue the invitation, and invest in those who choose to show up. Those who accept the call will bring the next circle of people into the conversation.

The Possibility Conversation is one that focuses
on what we want our future to be as opposed to problem solving the past. This is
based on an understanding that living systems are really propelled to the force
of the future. The possibility conversation frees people to innovate, challenge
the status quo, and create new futures that make a difference.
The leadership task is to postpone problem solving and stay focused
on possibility until it is spoken with resonance and passion

The Ownership Conversation is one that focuses on whose organization or task is this? The conversation begins with the question, “how have I contributed to creating the current reality?” Confusion, blame and waiting for someone else to change are a defense against ownership and personal power.
The leadership task is to confront people with their freedom.

The Dissent Conversation is allowing people the space to say "no". If we cannot say "no" then our "yes" has no meaning.
The leadership task is to surface doubts and dissent without having
an answer to every question.

The Commitment Conversation is about individuals making promises to their peers about their contribution to the success of the whole organization. It is centered in two questions: What promise am I willing to make to this enterprise? And, what is the price I am willing to pay for the success of the whole effort? It is a promise for the sake of a larger purpose, not for the sake of personal return.
The leadership task is to reject lip service and demand either authentic commitment or ask people to say no and pass. We need the commitment of much fewer people than we thought to create the future we have in mind.

The Sixth Conversation is Around Gifts. What are the gifts and assets we bring to the enterprise? Rather than focus on our deficiencies and weaknesses, which will most likely not go away, let us build on the gifts we bring and capitalize on those.
The leadership task is to bring the gifts of those on the margin
into the center.

Pretty powerful and self evident truths that we know hold true in our "other" why not in organizational life?