Category Archives: Managed Conversations

Our Work Behavior Patterns Are Flawed

 

We appear to be blind with regard to the effectiveness and implications of our current work behaviors.  We have accepted current behavior patterns as “normal” and expected.  This despite tons of documented evidence of the breakdowns, inefficiencies, and waste that is immediately evident to anyone who chooses to look.

One example: the act of “assigning” a task actually tends to preserve a one-up, one-down notion of the relationship between work mates. Do we really not see that this is nothing more than one of the flavors of a command and control mentality?  Simply identifying a task, putting a person’s name and due date beside it does not come close to really getting a commitment or any real certainty of the outcome.  The smallest element of work is not a task; it’s a conversation.  And only in an adult peer-to-peer conversation can commitments be negotiated and agreed to.  Agreements reflect authentic accountability; assignments do not.

 

Developing a habit of making and keeping commitments

It’s the New Year.  Time for some new thinking and new goals.

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone in your organization had a habit of making and keeping their commitments?  Can you imagine how much smoother operations would be; how much better morale would be; how much happier your customers would be; how much more successful the organization would be?

Learning habits follows a process.  First you learn the new behavior, then you practice until it becomes a habit.  It’s a simple process, but not at all easy. Learning a new behavior requires awareness, intention and most often guidance.  Practice means consistent repetition.  Habits only form after a considerable number of repetitions.

One of the greatest powers of software is its ability to shorten and reinforce the making of new habits.  That notion is the core idea for the design of our CommitKeeper tool.

First, CommitKeeper teaches the process of making and keeping commitments.  Done properly this process requires a clear request, a negotiated agreement with a specific due date, on-time delivery of that agreement by the performer, and acceptance/feedback from the requester.  To be precise, the new behavior does not guarantee that all tasks will be done on time.  Rather, making and keeping commitments is about elevating (or is it deepening) the quality of the conversation between two individuals acting with intention, mutual respect and care about the agreements they make with each other.  In addition to guiding both requester and performer through the commitment conversation the software provides a record of the conversation and clear focus on who has the ball for the next action.

Second, adopting a system forces consistent repetition of the new behavior for making and keeping commitments.  Without a new system, it’s too easy to “fall back” onto old habits.  The software also provides an archive of completed conversations for review and further learning.

Getting better at meeting commitments takes more than just talking about it.  Adopting a new system is a great way to develop new habits.

 

Elevate Engagement, But How?

It goes without saying that more engaged employees produce better results. But the topic of engagement often spawns a lot of generalizations and hand-wringing with only little practical guidance. How DO you execute in order to raise employee engagement?  What specific behaviors can managers employ?

This topic often starts with admonitions about respect, empowerment, and encouragement.  Some more advice follows along like:  set clear expectations, provide more autonomy, and offer frequent praise and recognition.  Ok, but then  taking this advice to an operational, day-to-day level, what specific behaviors can managers employ?

I suggest one key lever is to focus on how managers communicate with their team; I mean specifically what words are used, what are the conversational patterns, what are the means of following-up and reaching closure on work requests, when and how feedback is delivered, etc.  These are “systematic behaviors” that can be observed and strengthened with an eye to increasing respect and empowerment.

I refer here to the ground-breaking work by Drs. Fernando Flores and Terry Winograd who developed the model of a “conversation for action” that describes a new pattern of communication between work colleagues that goes right to the mechanics of elevating engagement.

First of all, each conversation for action begins with a “request”.  Not an “assignment” that presumes a one-up and one-down relationship between the parties, but a “request” which acknowledges from the start the mutual dependency and the associated respect due to the performer.  Just using the words “can you. . .” changes the mood of the following work delivery conversation.

The second stage of the conversation is equally powerful.  The performer is provided the opportunity, as a respected equal, to “negotiate” their response to the request.  The performer is explicitly invited and empowered to say what they can and cannot commit to.  No more just assigning a task with a person’s name on it and a due date.  Rather, an actual agreement is forged with a performer who is empowered to respond with what they can accomplish by when.  This practice of an explicit negotiation achieves better clarity of what’s expected.  Moreover, it reinforces a sense of the performer’s autonomy and control over their work.  Note, also, that providing this measure of autonomy to the performer is the quid pro quo for achieving real task ownership and accountability for delivery.

The conversation for action closes the loop with a clear delivery of the agreed outcome followed by the requester’s acceptance and praise or critique.  The closing of each task is an opportunity for praise and recognition.  This amounts to real-time, all-the-time performance improvement conversations instead of end-of-year performance reviews.  Each successful cycle inspires the next one.  Trust, a key element of engagement, is built along the way from repeated cycles.

So, the next question is how do you instantiate these behaviors throughout the team or organization?  One way is to use technology that has been specifically designed to guide and facilitate a “managed conversation” between requesters and performers.  4Spires has developed a new generation of social task management software that combines task and relationship management that goes right to the heart of the engagement question.  It’s a specific and tangible intervention that can change the conversation content and dynamics between work colleagues.

The “CommitKeeper” software acts as a third party to the conversations between requesters and performers by prompting the use of specific words and responses and by assuring explicit closure of the conversation.  The tool is an expression of new practices and new behaviors that can help build engagement.

Culture Is Revealed In Conversations, Some Tips For Improvement

This post first appeared in the Huffington Post Business section on 03/02/ 2015

When we think of work culture, what do we mean? Often what we mean is the mood of the place. And there are many moods we are all familiar with that range from excitement, enthusiasm, curiosity, openness, honesty, and partnership to competitive, argumentative, overbearing, cynical, withdrawn, and punitive, to name a few. And how is the mood displayed? Through talking, i.e. how people speak with each other. The tone of voice, the specific words we use, the energy, and even the structure of the dialog are palpable manifestations of work culture. Respect and empowerment are expressed in conversations between work colleagues. Drop into any meeting, listen to how people speak with each other, and you will have an immediate sense of the culture of the organization. How work colleagues speak to each other, what words they use, what mood prevails, and the structure of the dialog have more to do with achieving reliable outcomes than all other factors.

How work colleagues speak with each other is not only evidence of the culture; changing the dialog may also be the biggest lever for changing the culture.

What people say and what they withhold matters.  Language trumps control. How the communication is initiated and conducted is often more important than what is communicated. An organization is a network of person-to-person work conversations during which information and energy is exchanged. Like cells in your body, the quality of these “work-atoms” determines the effectiveness of the whole. Attending to and influencing work conversations can help transform culture and improve collaboration.

What’s most interesting to me is that while our dialog is a reflection of all the soft stuff like trust, openness, honesty, engagement, motivation, transparency, confidence, and respect; dialog can also be viewed as a “technology” in the sense that it can be structured, measured, and guided through specific practices. One can readily observe and monitor what dialog is occurring and, in turn, what culture is being expressed and reinforced. Interventions to improve culture by changing the dialog can, therefore, be quite specific, not just platitudes like “we need more trust”.

Managers may spend 80% of their time in conversation, and making those conversations effective is by no means simple.  Rather than thinking of conversations as trivial everyday acts, conversations should be thought of as a sophisticated technology for getting things done. The starting point is the recognition that conversation is not just about sharing information. A big part of conversation is about making commitments. You ask me to do something by some date. I reply that I will do it. That kind of promise is the key to control and coordination.

One specific intervention is to use language with more precision. One example would be introducing the distinction between an assertion and an assessment. An assertion is a statement of a fact or belief. An assessment is a personal judgment or opinion. An assessment can either be grounded (i.e., backed up with some evidence) or ungrounded (i.e., just a personal hunch). Another example is to notice that a request is very different from an assignment or a complaint and that an explicit promise from a performer to deliver something by a certain date actually changes the state of things. Making our utterances more precise is a great start to improving work relationships.

Another intervention involves paying attention to the structure of work conversations. Over the last 50 years social scientists and linguists have developed, for example, a precise model for a “conversation for action” that has four stages. In the first stage the team leader/manager/customer makes a request of a specific performer and the two parties begin the negotiation stage. Once they reach agreement, the conversation moves to the delivery stage. When the performer delivers they enter the acknowledgement/assessment stage where the requester declares whether they are satisfied and completes the conversation. Tracking conversations around this closed loop can be a big boost to better accountability and more on-time deliveries.

Promise Cycle

Language is both the expression of culture and the lever for changing culture. The “technology of conversations” is a new domain that HR practitioners should become involved with. Organization consultants bring special sensibilities and tools for exposing, exploring, and enhancing work conversations.

 

The First Seven Breakdowns in Work Conversations

For those who have read my earlier posts, you know that I have a particular interest in the structure and quality of work conversations.  The smallest element of any achievement is not a task; it’s a conversation.  Any team or organization is nothing more than a network of conversations.  These person-to-person conversations can be thought of as the exchanging of information and energy much like the cells in your body.  The quality of these exchanges determines the effectiveness of the whole organism/organization.  It follows, therefore, that the most powerful way to improve performance of an individual, a team, or a company is to improve the quality of the dialog.

“Leadership is a phenomenon of the conversations of a team, not of an individual. A team participates in a set of ongoing conversations among people who commit to share an explicitly declared mission and to coordinate actions to fulfill the mission. The leader takes action to ensure that these conversations take place and that they are assessed by the team to be effective.” (Fernando Flores)

This is intended to be the first of a series of articles that provide more specifics about how to improve the quality of work conversations.  It’s one thing to state the general premise that conversations matter.  My intent is to be more specific; I intend to describe specific behaviors that evidence good and bad conversations.  Let’s begin with recognizing some of the most common breakdowns in work conversations that create miscommunication, low engagement or even resignation, and poor execution.  Note that 5 relate to the Requester’s side of the conversation and 2 relate to the Performer’s.

THE FIRST SEVEN CONVERSATION BREAKDOWNS

1)    Not Making Requests – Wanting or needing something from someone else and not making the request.  A request is a clear statement of a desired result within a time frame.  It is surprising how few managers are able to make requests, but it is not hard to explain.  Making a request acknowledges dependence and exposes vulnerability.  In addition, we each have a built in reticence or fear of hearing a “no” response and feeling rejected.

2) Living with Uncommunicated Expectations – A pernicious form of “not requesting” occurs when an individual lives in a world of “shoulds” and expectations that are really unexpressed requests.  This amounts to private conversations with ourselves about what others should and should not do.  There is some inherent dishonesty in this behavior.

3) Making Unclear Requests – Lack of clarity and precision in a request generates breakdowns.  Others do not see the world as you do.  Effective requests are specific, precise and detailed.  Note, however, that making effective requests requires more attention and commitment from the requester.

Making clear requests often requires extra effort to think through more precisely what outcome is desired.  A preliminary conversation with the team is sometimes needed to achieve better clarity about what’s needed and who can do it.  The requester, therefore, shares the accountability for the outcome.

4) Not Observing the Mood of Requesting – Making a request like a demand or like a beggar.  The mood of your utterance affects the listener as much as your words.  If the mood is demanding, your performer might decline your requests because they see you as arrogant and righteous, or they might make promises to you out of intimidation, not choice, and these commitments are weak and rarely fulfilled.

5) Promising even when you aren’t clear of what was requested – Committing to something you are not clear about is foolish.  More, it is also a breakdown in integrity to take on a task that the performer knows is unclear.  Failure to meet expectations is built in from the start.  Not being clear about what will be delivered will guarantee wasted effort.

6) Not Declining Requests – The ability for a performer to decline requests is crucial for health, dignity and well-being.  This is a common sense notion, but radical at the same time.  Most managers operate from an implicit position of “I pay my people well and I expect them to do what I ask of them.”  And perhaps even more important, team members/staff people have no experience nor confidence in the possibility that they could actually decline a request.   And yet, if there is no room to ever say no to a request, how can either the manager or the performer ever trust a yes.

7) Breaking Promises Without Taking Care – Promises are not guarantees that deliveries will be made on time, but breakdowns do need careful handling.  The requester implicitly trusts that the performer is sincere, competent, and reliable to do what they’ve promised.  Breakdowns occur, but so as not to undermine that trust, the performer must honor their original promise by immediately notifying the requester and being open to making a new promise.  In this way the performer is staying accountable and behaving in integrity with what they have said.

Getting task-related conversations off on the right foot is an important beginning to an effective “conversation for action”.  Future blog posts will describe guidelines for how the conversation should progress to maximize the chances for a successful outcome.

 

A “Workspace” for Knowledge Workers – what does this really mean? Eight characteristics of next-generation workspaces.

As social networking and particularly collaboration technologies have flourished, so have a whole new crop of terms intended to describe what differentiates these new capabilities from the old. One of the new terms is “shared workspace”. It’s now common for vendors to tout their new “workspace” somewhere in their marketing. But beyond the claims, there is little discussion about what is really meant by the term. My intention is to dig a little deeper into describing what most current vendors mean by a “shared workspace” and the characteristics that distinguish a next-generation workspace.

Knowledge workers of today who are more often remote and mobile do certainly benefit from technologies that provide the virtual equivalent of the old whiteboard in a meeting.  Not surprisingly, there is a wide spectrum of capabilities that various vendors use to describe their “workspace”. The single common understanding is that “shared workspaces” support collaborative input, editing, and updates from more than one person at the same time, i.e. it’s a multi-user tool.  While email technically allows any party in the dialog to add a comment at any time, the general idea is more like ping-pong. One person sends a note and another person responds. The first person waits for the response; it’s a back and forth paradigm. Email certainly presented a new “workspace” to users 30 years ago. Current day tools support capture of anyone-anytime-anywhere dialog in the context of a work group or project.

Some consider a shared document to be a workspace. Enabling multiple people to view and edit the same document at the same time is certainly a huge step beyond email, but producing shared documents is only a relatively small part of what knowledge workers do.

Modern workspaces also provide the basic capabilities of storing and retrieving shared documents in a shared repository. A shared workspace typically also includes ready access to your colleagues organized by group or project and the ability to post comments in a shared view.

The software provided by most of today’s vendors utilize a one-to-many paradigm. The workspace is a shared forum in which collaborators update each other in real time. Anyone in the group can post updates at any time, and all group members are updated simultaneously. While keeping colleagues up to date is important, such workspaces engender intermittent participation from team mates and the workspace provides only limited focus on individual accountability for who is delivering what by when.

The most advanced workspaces, however, go much further. The software is not just an open field where participants have the possibility to add a comment or respond to someone else’s post. The workspace technology actually functions like a facilitating third-party to the conversation.

I take it for granted that the workspace must be easy to use. Who doesn’t make this claim? A more interesting differentiating characteristic is whether the workspace is passive or active.

 Passive vs. Active workspaces

Passive workspaces sit there, a virtual blank canvas that collaborators can write on together.   The passive workspace collects and displays the inputs from participants and may even provide some search (e.g. tags) and sorting features, but the technology offers nothing to directly influence the content, style, or mood of the communications that are going on.

Active workspaces act like a third party in the work conversations. An active workspace guides the participants into how to conduct a focused collaborative action that leads to results. It facilitates a certain structure and rigor, the rules of engagement so to speak. The conversation is “managed” so as to increase the likelihood of a successful delivery. The software is also specifically designed to facilitate the quality of the conversation (e.g. who says what to whom) and in so doing to build a positive relationship between the parties going forward.  Task and relationship management are combined.

Eight characteristics of a next-generation workspace 

Following are 8 specific characteristics of active, next-generation workspaces that are not yet generally available in the marketplace:

1– Context. Entries are organized in a thread that is specifically related to some action or result someone has requested, i.e. not just a general posting.

2– Focus.  Dialog is focused on what we are trying to accomplish, i.e. the explicit requested outcome by when. Who is involved, who is the accountable performer, and who else is an interested observer to the conversation? What’s the current status, i.e. is the task on track or not?

3– Structure.  Composing the goal or task request must contain certain information. Structure cannot be so confining, however, as to inhibit the flexibility needed for natural conversations.

4– Ownership.  Views show who’s got the ball at this moment to move the conversation along. Who is waiting for who?

5– Next steps.  What are the appropriate next actions any user could/should take next? The software provides a set of shared ground-rules for “managing” the conversation including expected responses at any particular point in the dialog. An underlying “intelligent” workflow keeps things moving forward.

6– Setting the mood.  The software prompts what “words” are appropriate to set up the optimum “mood” for the conversation that will enhance respect, engagement, and trust.

7– Closing the loop.  Delivery of agreed outcomes is explicit. Performers don’t  claim “done”; instead they assert that a delivery was made and let the original requester confirm whether the delivery was satisfactory.  Team leaders accept and express satisfaction and feedback.

8– A history.  Memory of past conversations is preserved for later review and analysis. Participants build their reputation as a reliable team member. One’s integrity (i.e. say what you’ll do, do what you say) is catalogued and supported by data.  Trust improves.

4Spires solutions are examples of next-generation workspaces that include all of these characteristics.

Fish in Water – Workmates in Language

In his commencement speech to a graduating class at Kenyon College, author David Foster Wallace began with the following joke.  “There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys, how’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, “What the hell is water?”

Wallace uses the story to point out that what surrounds you every day is often oblivious to you.  The analogy can be applied to the work environment, and specifically to our language.

Similar to fish in water, we move through our days in language that is usually taken for granted and unobserved.  Almost everything we do is accomplished with words.  The language we use in conversations with our work colleagues is typically not noticed.  How we behave, however, is bounded by the way we speak and listen to each other.  Paying attention to our language can help move us beyond our implicit assumptions into better clarity, more integrity, and improved performance.

The branch of linguistics that informs and inspires the 4Spires products flows from the work of John Austin, John Searle, and Fernando Flores.  These thinkers studied how language coordinates action between people and achieves results.  Dr. Flores brought new clarity to the idea that there is unrealized power in the use of specific words structured into a specific pattern of conversation.  He called it a “conversation for action”.

Helping work colleagues pay attention and harness language to improve results (i.e. to figuratively help people “see the water”) is at the heart of what differentiates our solutions from others in the market.  Our products focus, illuminate, and guide work conversations that can profoundly improve both team productivity and relationships.  Real breakthroughs happen if we open our eyes to what we say, and how we listen to each other.

How Is Accountability Put Into Practice

In a recent blog post Suresh Kumar, President of KaiZen Innovation and former Assistant Commerce Secretary for Trade Promotion appointed by President Obama asked a key question: “What does it take to put accountability into practice?  How does one create a culture of responsibility and integrity?  Leaders need to nourish the cultural context and manifestations of accountability.  Leader-member exchanges create an atmosphere of mutual responsibility and obligation.  Monitoring creates a natural context for dense feedback.  Providing feedback successfully requires a high level of management credibility. Accountability depends upon defining who is responsible for what.  The leader needs to set, and get agreement on, expectations that are clear, measurable, and personal.”

As Suresh points out, accountability is NOT about setting a goal or assigning a due date to see if a person delivers.  Real accountability is achieved in a “conversation”.  In fact, achieving commitment and engagement requires a particular pattern of conversation.  I’m referring to the ground-breaking work of Fernando Flores, and others, who developed the practice of “commitment-based management”.  The model he developed of a “conversation for action” is simple, even obvious, but powerful for achieving accountability in practice.

The conversation progresses through 4 stages – Request, Negotiation, Delivery, and Assessment.  The leader/manager or even a colleague begins with a request to a specific performer (e.g. Can you…by this date?).  The performer provides an explicit response (i.e., Agree, Decline, Counter-Offer).  Once a clear agreement is reached between the two parties, the conversation moves to the Delivery stage during which the parties keep in touch with each other regarding progress or issues as they arise.  Next, the performer delivers what they said they would deliver or explains why they couldn’t.  The conversation moves to the final assessment stage where the requester accepts the delivery and provides feedback about their satisfaction.  The cycle repeats for each goal or task.

What excites me most about this model is the effect this practice has as an organization development intervention to build a culture of autonomy, transparency and trust.  Performers are “elevated” and engaged at a peer level relationship (as opposed to a command and control leadership style).  The quid pro quo for providing greater autonomy and control to the performer is palpable accountability for achieving outcomes.  The practice introduces a new style of conversation.

The act of making a “request” (vs. an assignment) changes the mood of the conversation from the outset.  What we say, the words we use and how we say them, changes the quality of the interaction between individuals.  New words (e.g. request, commitment, counter-offer, decline, assessment) are introduced into the organization, which drive more explicit accountability for the performer and the requester.

New technology can be very helpful to introduce and reinforce this “conversation for action” model.  To see this in “action” for yourself, check out the 4Spires demo.

The Missing Loop – Guest Post by Paul Foraker

CommitKeeper: The Missing Loop

What’s missing in work group software?

Cloud-based software supporting collaboration can include shared calendars, files, and tasks. Workers share dates and documents with each other using services like Google Drive or SharePoint; and there are several task managers available to small groups. Plus, there are platforms like Producteev, Flow, and Remember The Milk that integrate all three. One thing they all seem to be missing, however, is a collaborative workflow that emphasizes the importance of making negotiated commitments.

A negotiated commitment (Flores, et al.) is one in which a Requester and Performer have made an explicit agreement about the terms of the task at hand. Requests will include:

  • title
  • due date
  • budget
  • description of the scope of the task

The next step — which most solutions ignore — is to get the Performer to agree. Top-down management doesn’t always work. Lost emails stop progress.

The SaaS solution called CommitKeeper (www.commitkeeper.com) aims to provide the missing link; or better, the missing loop. CommitKeeper automates the commitment-based management (CBM) stages of:

  1. Preparation
  2. Negotiation
  3. Countered
  4. Delivery
  5. Acknowledgement
  6. Archival

When a team member fills out a New Request form and clicks Send, the parties Negotiate. If the Performer needs to, she makes a Counter-offer. After the parties agree, they enter Delivery. When she’s finished, she clicks Deliver, and the Requester is notified. Time to Acknowledge. The Requester can ask for rework (back to Delivery) or click OK (Archived).

Explicit commitment closes the loop and brings results.

Lencioni’s “Five Dysfunctions of a Team” – A Commentary

In 2002, Patrick Lencioni wrote “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” describing the many pitfalls teams face and the fundamental causes of organizational politics and team failure.  Despite the lack of actual data to support his observations, the book has been on the New York Times and Business Week best-seller list, and it is a favorite of many organization consultants.  This is no doubt because the dysfunctions are so familiar.

Lencioni describes the hierarchy of the five dysfunctions:

  • Absence of trust — if team members are unwilling to take interpersonal risks with one another and are unwilling to be vulnerable or to admit mistakes and weaknesses; this culminates in poor trust-building practices.  (Note: See my other blog articles on Trust.)
  • Fear of conflict — when teams are incapable of engaging in unfiltered and passionate debate of ideas, the outcome is that members rely on carefully crafted safe statements to avoid conflict and reprisal; the unvarnished truth is not spoken.
  • Lack of commitment — without healthy conflict team members feign buy-in; causing ambiguity about decisions. If there is agreement, it is done begrudgingly or to deflect conflict.
  • Avoidance of accountability — without commitment and buy-in, accountability suffers as it is hard to hold someone accountable for what you do not believe in.  Performance standards decline when no one is called out on their counterproductive behavior.
  • Inattention to results — if team members do not hold each other accountable, results suffer. Individual interests, such as status and ego, override the team’s agenda.

Lencioni’s model

We can all recognize these dysfunctional tendencies.  In fact, these are present to a lesser or greater degree in virtually every team.  So the question remains; how can leaders promote improvement along these dimensions?

Many organization consultants use this model in team-based interventions and executive coaching.  Recognizing the dysfunctions and understanding how they affect team performance is not difficult, the hard part is changing them.  How exactly do leaders change the norms, practices, and behaviors of individual team members?

The root of the problems and the focus for making change is in the nature of the conversations going on among team members, i.e., who is saying what to whom, on what topics, with what words, in what mood, etc.  The team dysfunctions are manifested in the dialog, or lack thereof, going on between team members.  To make improvements in team performance, managers need to focus on these conversations.

In his 2013 book Conversations For Action and Collected Essays: Instilling a Culture of Commitment in Working Relationships, Fernando Flores wrote:

“Leadership is a phenomenon of the conversations of a team, not of an individual.  The role of the leader is to make sure the right conversations are happening and that they are being assessed by the team as being effective.  These are not one-way messages like take out the trash or do this task, but rather two-way conversations in which individuals share their background concerns, negotiate agreements for taking action together, and continuously develop a shared assessment of how the work and their relationship is progressing.”

Lencioni’s model is used by many management consultants to help leaders and groups understand the roots of their performance problems and to prompt changes in the group’s conversational patterns.  For some this can be an important intervention illuminating a pathway for change.

The real challenge, however, is making the intervention stick.  It is one thing to learn the model and quite another to change a group’s behavior, their practices around the structure and quality of their conversations.  Even if this can be done during an intervention spanning a few weeks, how can the manager, leader or group make sure the new practices stick over the long haul?

This challenge is one of the reasons 4Spires developed its social task management solutionCommitKeeper. The software helps to instantiate new practices around conversations that address all of the team dysfunctions.  CommitKeeper prompts explicit responses to requests and assures that clear commitments are made and that each party maintains proper and ongoing communication throughout the entire cycle: initial request through post-delivery.  Accountability is made visible and the software keeps a detailed record of results.  Trust is built through more honest conversations and a track record of making and keeping one’s commitments.

I’m betting the interventions that yield the best long term results will include a combination of training accompanied by the CommitKeeper software.