We were at the end of an EOS® quarterly, and as we went around matching owners to each rock one leader was reluctant to take on a rock that seemed to align with her talents and accountabilities. As the team asked her to own the rock she reluctantly agreed by saying “If you want to assign me that rock, I guess I will take it.” I stopped the session and said – “the words assign and guess are not words that make me believe want to take on this rock. Leadership of a rock takes commitment, so let’s spend some time talking this through before we move ahead.”
Powerful Question™ #1: What is making this rock an assignment for you?
Powerful Question™ #2: On a scale of 1(none) to 10(extremely strong) – what is your commitment to this rock? If you are at x, what would it take to get to an 8, 9, or 10? (note: The answer probably becomes a to do, because the answer is likely more thought or a chance to review it with their team)
As a facilitator, especially around goal setting, language is critical. I listen for the words, and call the ones out that reveal feelings that indicate conditions are present that will get in the way of successful completion of the work. The key is to name the words and the assumptions I make around commitment, and allow space for people to confirm how they are feeling and get the team to talk about it. My trigger words are:
- Kind of
- Have to
hint: For the action oriented leaders their language will always be positive, so watch for body language with these leaders.
Great conversations start with a question, and the question I always ask is Do you commit to owning this rock?
Whether you are in a quarterly pulsing session, a leadership team meeting, or any other situation where actions have to be owned, develop the leadership skill of listening and calling out the language that tells you “we need to keep discussing this”.
Listen . . Lead. Repeat often!