Donna Strickland Blog

Accountability Conversation

1. Find out whether the person you are working with is interested in seeing problems as learning opportunities.  If so, when a problem occurs, include other people who are also interested in the situation.  Other people’s perspectives can be helpful because often two people in conflict are actually mirroring the conflict of a larger system within the organization.

2. Create a setting that is conducive to learning. 

  • Allow plenty of time to address the issues.
  • Reaffirm with each other that the goal is to learn, not blame.
  • Establish confidentiality.
  • Be truly open-minded.
  • Listen hard to the other person’s perspective.

3. Have a conversation in which the two (or more) of you:

  • Clarify your intention for the meeting.
  • Identify the data and any assumptions or conclusions you have drawn based on that data.
  • Identify the pressures each of you is experiencing in the situation.
  • Identify any stated or unstated expectations.  If implicit agreements were not jointly understood, this is a good time to clarify and reestablish shared agreements.
  • Analyze the problem for a systems perspective.  Clarify how your mutual beliefs and actions might be related and are perhaps reinforcing each other.
  • Identify some new ways to address the problem.

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