A Simple Tool for Speaking Honestly and Constructively

Lorraine Aguilar

Are you on a team where people avoid conflict or shy away from saying anything that might sound critical? Reluctance to speak up can block important challenges from being identified, and deny your team and organization the opportunity to learn and improve. According to Lorraine Aguilar, this avoidance is most evident in peer-to-peer communications. Lorraine designed a tool for agile coaches, facilitators, and team leaders who want to make it easy and safe for people to speak authentically during retrospectives and other opportunities for performance feedback and continuous improvement. Apply this simple tool—cards and three powerful questions—to quickly get to the heart of the matter in a way that minimizes defensiveness and maximizes accountability. Practice speaking authentically about real challenges and opportunities for improvement in your workplace. Offer clear and constructive action-based suggestions. This tool is based on the principles of Nonviolent Communication, an empathy-based communications framework used to promote collaboration and innovation in organizations including Google and Microsoft.

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