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Courageous Conversations as The Healthy Alternative to Whistleblowing
There are many service providers using the catchy phrase ‘courageous conversations’ to market their workshops. The Courageous Conversations offering via SpeakOut SpeakUp Ltd is an evidence-based cognitive behavioural module which has been developed by Professor Emeritus Philip Zimbardo and Lynne Henderson, Ph.D., over the course of 25 years at The Shyness Clinic, founded at Stanford by Professor Zimbardo, and is based on over 50 years of psychological research, with key insights from neuroscience.
Speaking and Listening Up is Integrity in Action
The current narrative of ‘if you see something, say something’ is hopeful at best. And the narrative around ‘Speaking Up’ is becoming as homogenised as ‘Culture’.
Whilst a formal whistleblowing channel offers an opportunity to report wrongdoing, it’s too late in the game, promoting an ethical ‘fix-it’ frame which is partially effective. Additionally, the act of whistleblowing arouses psychological conflict, going against our innate values of loyalty and cohesiveness.
In contrast, the informal act of speaking-listeningup via Courageous Conversations is before, or at least, early in the game, recognises and leverages from psychological variables and is therefore a more effective and robust avenue to mitigating unethical slippery slopes.
Courageous and effective leadership at work usually comes down to the ability to have Courageous Conversations of one kind or another with colleagues. There are many subtle and not-so-subtle cues and pressures that can make it difficult to have Courageous Conversations. Fear of doing it “wrong”, looking like we don’t know, being judged, misunderstood, or the risk of exclusion or retribution can keep us from speaking up and listening up for what we believe is right.
A Bespoke half or full day Courageous Conversation Growth-shop.
Courageous Conversations for Diversity and Inclusion
Courageous Conversations for Diversity: Asking for a raise. Ending a relationship. Pitching for business. Giving a critical performance review. Saying no to someone in need. Confronting disrespectful or hurtful behaviour. Disagreeing with the majority in a group. Apologising. Asking for help.
There is no such thing as a diplomatic hand grenade. Delivering a difficult message is like throwing a hand grenade. Coated with sugar, thrown hard or soft, a hand grenade is still going to do damage. There’s no way to outrun the consequences. And keeping it to yourself is no better. That’s like hanging on to the hand grenade once you’ve pulled the pin.
Anytime we feel vulnerable or our self-image is implicated, when the issues at stake are important and the outcome uncertain, when we care deeply about what is being discussed or about the people with whom we are discussing it, there is potential for us to experience the conversation as difficult.
That’s because conversations are about what you are saying to yourself about you. Anytime a conversation feels difficult, it is in part precisely because it is about You, with a capital Y. That’s why we often avoid engaging in conversations because we fear how the conversation could make us feel about ourselves.
A Bespoke half or full day Courageous Conversation Growth-shop.
The Courageous Conversations Growth-Shop: Key Learning Objectives
To understand how challenging situations affect our physiological, cognitive, emotional and behavioural functioning: Understand key predictors of individual and team performance and organisational impact.
To understand key influences on human behaviour via the lens of Triple S: Self, Situation, System and how to make changes at all levels.
To identify, interrupt and change individual, group and organisational patterns: Learn to transform fear into skilful, consistent courageous action through using the narrative and hand rails for Courageous Conversations.
To build social support to make positive changes at the individual (Self), team (Situation) and Organisational (System) level: Learn to harness social support for greater perspective, learning and impact
The Courageous Conversations Growth-Shop : Key Benefits
The ability to move away from truth assumptions, freeing individuals to shift their purpose from ‘proving we are right’ to understanding the perceptions, interpretations and values on both sides.
To re-frame conversations as learning, generative dialogues, with a centre, not sides and to move away from a ‘delivering a message/pitch/talk’ stance to a learning, sharing problem-solving stance.
The skill of disentangling intention from impact when the stakes are high.
Consistently and skilfully act with courage in challenging situations, and to support the same in others.
Create ethically courageous and adaptive individuals, teams and organisations for maximum positive impact.
Consciously move from certainty to curiosity.
Help leaders create cultures of psychological safety.
Strengthen confidence, competence, character and commitment among employees to converse authentically and effectively.
Help leaders to become more effective at honest communication and decision making in high stakes, when they have ‘skin in the game’ and/or gravitate to the ‘red zone’.
Foster more caring personally and challenging courageously.
Build a shared leadership model into the organisation
Coming Soon! Virtual Reality Immersion for Courageous Conversations – The VR and Psychology teams at UEL are collaborating with Wendy to co create a VR immersion for Courageous Conversations.Research shows that VR is an experience that causes more behaviour change, causes more engagement and causes more influence than other types of traditional media.
The Courageous Conversations Team-Building and Practice
Five follow-up reinforcement sessions in-person, to ensure optimal and long term use of the Courageous Conversation tools. These are consultant supported sessions where participants apply their new skills to real-life challenges.
In the sessions, participants refine their skills and continue to build team awareness, support and practices for long term behavioural change and cultural and organisational impact.
Up to 16 people
The Courageous Conversations Leadership Executive One-on-One Leadership coaching
One-on-One coaching with managers looking for extra support as they provide, receive and encourage candid feedback and communication. These coaching sessions help to surface the behavioural patterns that get in the way of effective leadership and serve to devise and implement plans to retrain dysfunctional reactions under stress with their colleagues
The Courageous Conversations Team Consulting
Regular team meetings are attended by a Courageous Conversation consultant to help identify and transform dysfunctional behavioural patterns as they are happening. Participants build awareness, skills and long-term practices to sustain positive behavioural change with enhanced social support.
The Courageous Conversations Growth-Shop Testimonials
“Even months after our GrowthShops as Wendy calls them and as I now refer to them, I have members of our 12,000 staff begging for more of the sessions and to be able to meet with and speak with Wendy and hear her story” Angélique Parisot-Potter, Massy Group General Counsel, Caribbean
“This was the most engaging training I have attended in a long time. Wendy’s messages were really powerful. The ability to have courageous conversations in our roles is a key skill” Compliance Officer, Nationwide Bank, London
“Wendy’s story was very moving and inspiring at the same time. Especially valuable was her call to speak up before an employee has to become a whistle blower. In her view, Courageous Conversations are the healthy alternative to whistleblowing. Wendy’s experience has encouraged Bosch to go further along the path of Courageous Conversations enabling employees to speak up.” Alfredo Barona, Head of Commercial Compliance (Powertrain Solutions /Robert Bosch GmbH) Germany
“Good session and an interesting trainer with very relevant background. Wendy highlighted the theory behind having courageous conversations and tools to help overcome barriers which can easily be applied” HR Nationwide Bank, London