The U

The “U” is a simple tool to guide a conversation. The head/heart space you are inhabiting while you use the “U” will determine if it is effective.

Here’s how it works: Envision a letter “U” where the top left and top right sides of the “U” represent something genuinely positive and the bottom of the “U” symbolizes your courage to authentically speak to the heart of the matter.

Below is an example:

Thanks Steve for making the time to talk with me. I am really excited about the new website project you are leading. I know it’s going to have a huge impact with our team and externally with both our clients and prospects.

(Note the positive opening to the person managing the website project. No bullshit. Truly excited about new website. Many leaders are so eager to get to the point; they don’t take the time to set it up. Net-result: the other person gets defensive about feedback. Now comes the courageous part.)

I have one major concern. I’m worried that some of the website images will send the wrong message. I am all for being a little edgy but I really believe we are walking a fine line here. The current images can easily be misinterpreted. I am not suggesting we dial it all the way back. Can we take a look at some alternative options?

(The concern about the website images is crystal clear. When you fail to reinforce WHY your concern is important, it doesn’t motivate the other person to take action. Net-result: the other person leaves feeling disgruntled or unappreciated. Now for a positive close—see below.)

Your team is doing an amazing job and they are way ahead of schedule. I love their passion and courage to take risks. As their leader, this is your opportunity to coach them; to help them understand where that fine line is. I might even suggest that you encourage them to present a couple options at our next review session. Everyone likes options. I’ll encourage you to tap into the creativity of the entire team instead of a few strong minded individuals. Does that make sense?

All three parts of the “U” are equally important and interrelated.

However, the most important part of the “U” is your authenticity.

Did you speak to the heart of the matter? Did you mean what you said and say what you mean?

Want to practice using the “U”? Contact me and we can workshop your situation.