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Lesson 12. Forging Agreements > Discussing Improvement Opportunities - Pg. 61

Forging Agreements 61 When discussing your employees' performance, begin by agreeing on their strengths. It's a won- derful place to start. Not only does it set a positive tone for the meeting, it makes it easy for you to gain emotional agreement very quickly. The more quickly you open the door to agreement, the easier future agreements become. Discussing Improvement Opportunities The key to successfully discussing improvement opportunities is to avoid losing the ground gained while discussing strengths. This is not as easy as it might sound. Implicit in the need to improve is an admission that we're not as good as we should be. No one likes to admit that. The need to improve shouldn't trouble us, but it does. Once again, we're facing the logic-versus- emotion argument. Logically, we know that we're not perfect, that we will never be perfect. Since perfection isn't possible, there is always opportunity for improvement. Intuitively we know this. We can even accept it logically. That doesn't mean we have to like it. Emotionally, we despise the thought of being less than perfect. We hate admitting shortcomings. The mere thought of inadequacy brings us down emotionally. Your employees wrestle with the same emotions we do. It is easy to trigger these emotions in your employees by using the wrong language in discussing improvement opportunities. Once lost, the emotional high gained from reviewing strengths is almost impossible to regain. How can you be sure that you're using the right language? Avoid discussing "the need to improve." Rather discuss the "desire to improve." Here are some examples of language you can use: · Instead of asking, "How do you think you can improve your skills?" ask, "What's the next level