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How To Measure The Quality Of A Conversation

20th July 2022

Through Role Studies, we give businesses an insight into how their leadership teams spend time. Ensuring the correct leadership structure is in place helps to support delivery of business goals.

A valuable aspect of this time measurement process is that it enables evidence-based decision making on a topic that is often swayed by opinions and subjectivity. Role Study also highlights where valuable leadership time is being eaten into by jobs that can be carried out by other colleagues. It also captures time spent on tasks that can consume without necessarily adding value – such as admin, some conference calls and wading through data heavy/insight light reports.

By devising a leadership structure and ensuring the right roles focus on the most relevant jobs, businesses can optimise their performance and avoid unnecessary overlaps in responsibility.

Designing a practical structure that delivers your business objectives and provides opportunities for leaders to support team development may seem daunting, but traditional roles studies have long been able to help.How To Measure The Quality Of A Conversation

What can be even harder is to harness the different preferences and capabilities in your leadership team to make the very most of every interaction and conversation that leaders and team members have. A traditional role study has not, for example, been able to give any insight as to how good your leaders are at having conversations that motivate or engage team members or challenge them to higher levels of performance. We wanted to find a way to add that additional insight and potentially unlock the significant value in optimising the quality of conversations that team members have with one another. We’ve now found a way!

How does psychology play a part?

Partnering with Dulcie Swanston – thought leader on the psychology and neuroscience of personal and organisational change, and author of It’s Not Bloody Rocket Science – we are now able to assess where observed conversations fit within the Top Right Thinking matrix. We can then recommend actions for a business, not just about where it should spend its labour investment to optimise profitability, but also about the conversations that are encouraging team members to perform better and be more productive – and which seem to be slowing things down.

Dulcie’s Top Right Thinking concept utilises the fact that the conversations which truly drive performance require a mixture of trust in the leader, combined with just the right balance of challenge. When the mix is right, leaders get great performance from their people without needing to constantly be there to provide instructions or reassurance.

When ReThink assess levels of trust and challenge within leadership conversations, a Role Study can drive insights into variability within your leadership population in relation to the quality of their conversations, and can highlight the productivity impact of great and not so good conversations between leaders and their teams.How To Measure The Quality Of A Conversation

Examples of tangible business benefits that this approach has added so far include illustrating the difference between the quality of conversations of instore leaders before and after they  undertook leadership training designed to build their skills and create high performing teams. This baseline showed the significant difference in how a colleague feels in conversations between a typical store manager post that training and a team leader prior to that investment. This highlighted an important gap to close for team leaders wanting to transition to more senior positions and helps to illustrate the value of the training and development.

The work also showed the impact of an overly harsh conversation with a colleague. In this case   the challenge was not delivered in a way that would have maintained the trust and support between the leader and their team member, and created an environment where that colleague’s  work rate was depressed for over an hour. It was surely the opposite effect to the one that was intended, but how many of those conversations happen in business every day? And how much do we know about how they can deflate the productivity of otherwise high performing teams and individuals?

We call the fascinating study methodology that uncovers insights to help you optimise conversations, Quality Conversation Benchmarking.

Curious to find out more? We thoroughly recommend getting your hands on Dulcie’s thought-provoking and very practical book, It’s Not Bloody Rocket Science.

How could Quality Conversation Benchmarking help you? Contact our team to find out.