In this installment of Align and Unleash, we focus on the power of the pivot. The pivot is the movement we make from receiving a message to sharing it. The way in which we pivot makes all the difference in the authenticity and quality of the message.
This segment of the audio program focuses on:
- The power of the pivot
- The elements of the pivot
Listen – Listen and reflect back to ensure reception of message and determine what facts can and cannot be shared.
Process – Process the message so You can situate it within yourself with autenticity and Clarity
Share – Share the message by readying the words you will and will not use to best match the needs of Your audience
Below are two resources:
1. A 60-minute audio program focused on the pivot (below with transcript
2. An infographic describing the alignment process
Below is a transcript of the audio program. Forgive any mistakes the A.I. might have made in the transcription process.
The Power of the Pivot – Full Audio Transcript
This is Dave Fleming at The Ingenuity Lab.
Align and unleash two of the most important elements a team and it’s leaders can use to maximize their resources, their energy to advance their mission. As we continue to explore these two dynamics of alignment, and then an unleashing of energy. In this part of the audio program, we’ll look at another element that enables alignment, and then an unleashing of energy and engagement of the team around action that advances the mission. Remember, when you have one mindedness, you have great unity and power to unleash energy. And today, in this part of the audio program, we’ll talk about one of the Uber skills of one mindedness. Where it really comes down to whether or not one mindedness is retained, is the ability to practice this skill that we’re going to talk about today.
Let’s identify it as pivoting. Pivoting communication, and today, we’ll look at what it means to pivot, why pivoting matters how to do it, and a very important negative influence that happens when pivots are toxic. All of this will help bring that one mindedness together, so that then the energy from that unity can be exploited in the organization, towards its mission. So bring your best thinking, to this moment, take a couple deep breaths, focus in on what we’re going to talk about in this audio program. And let’s explore the power of the pivot. So when we talk about pivoting, what are we referring to? Well, simply were talking about how communication gets passed from one person to the next.
This is a gigantic feat for humans to be consistent in communication. Remember, the game of telephone, you know, where you sat in a circle as a kid and someone started with an idea that they shared something that they told the person next to them, and then it got passed from one person to the next around the circle, and then the last person would share what they heard. And there would be a comparison as to what was started versus what ended in that communication loop. Now, you might say, Oh, come on, Dave.
That’s just a game we played when we were kids. And sometimes, people were even intentionally altering the message as it went along. And, you know, people weren’t really listening very well. You know, that’s just something we did when we were kids. But if you really think about your organization, doesn’t the same thing happen? Do you think that communication ever is intentionally changed, as it shared? Uh huh. Imagine that. Do you think that sometimes people including me, and you are mindless when we’re listening to communication? And so as we turn to share it, we leave out vital ingredients, vital elements of the conversation? Yeah, of course. And then there’s a variety of other things that happen, other behaviors and actions that happen when communication is moving from one human to another. But this is enormous, and has enormous consequence in an organization. Because the way communication flows, the way ideas flow in an organization is really all we have. Everything flows from it. ideas turn into action and action into outcomes. And so the passing of ideas is paramount to the success of an organization. And that’s why today when it comes to another important element of aligning and creating one mindedness,
we have to talk about the pivot. Now, the pivot is simply a motion that you can think of. It’s a physical motion, right? We can do it with our body. You can see basketball players pivot In fact, when you’re playing all kinds of different sports, there’s a pivot. In just in everyday life, there are pivots, we, we make these moves from facing one direction and we turn to face another, I mean, just do it right now just sometimes we pivot in our chair, sometimes we’re just, we’re maybe facing the right, and then we make this turn to the left. It’s simple, it’s a pivot.
Now, that simple action actually occurs 1000s of times a day, in an organization, every time people talk together about ideas that are important to pass along, to create alignment. So think about it, two people or more, but let’s just start with to two people are talking. One has a piece of information and shares it with the person that they’re talking to. And then that person takes that information, let’s say it’s vital information for her team. And she turns right away from the conversation that she was having with the other person, she turns and shares with her team. Now, this likely doesn’t happen in one motion, right, the conversation between the first two people happens, and then maybe a meeting gets scheduled for three days later. And then that’s when the second part of the pivot happens. And that’s when the leader shares with her team, what she heard, let’s say from her leader, right, so now, that middle person, that leader in the middle pivoted, she turned first to her leader, she got the information.
And then later she turned and she pivoted to give the information to her team. That is the pivot. That is the communication pivot, it starts with receiving, then something important happens in the middle as the turn is occurring. And then the last part of the pivot is the delivery of the information to the next group or the next person. There’s the pivot. It’s a simple communication move from receiving to doing something important with the information before you share it, we’ll talk about that, and then turning and sharing it with those who are next in line, if you will. So let’s take a look at the anatomy of the pivot. And inside the anatomy of the pivot, we’re going to learn some really key behaviors as leaders and as contributors that advance good pivots versus negative pivots. And of course, we want to pivot well. But understanding the anatomy and the behaviors that go along with the anatomy can ensure that we keep coming back in a deliberate fashion, two pivots, that will bring one mindedness.
So we’ve already mentioned that there are three parts to the anatomy of a communication pivot. Now these happen, these three elements happen, whether I pay attention to them or not. They just are part of the flow of the communication. So let’s, let’s talk about each one, there’s the receiving. There’s what I’m going to call the processing. That’s the part in the middle. And then there’s the sharing, right, so there’s the the whole movement, so I’m turned one direction, and I’m receiving. And then as I’m pivoting as I’m turning, I’m processing internally, in some way that processing might go really well, or it might not, or it might be really mindless, but there’s some processing that’s going on.
And then I’m turning to share listening, processing, sharing, there are the three elements of the anatomy of a communication pivot, and each one is important. Each one has behaviors that make it more likely that the pivot will positively advance one mindedness. Now, remember, not all communication is created equal. There are certain types of communication that are simple, and the pivot is pretty simple. And there’s less possibility of big error occurring in the pivot. These are just sort of everyday communications.
Other types of communication Though have serious consequences to them as to how the pivot occurs. And what happens in each of the three areas. And these communications, these messages are often highly emotionalized, as well. And what I mean by that is, they are creating emotion, they’re creating a kind of feeling in the people who are hearing it and sharing it. In other words, I may or may not like this particular communication. I mean, every leader has had the experience of having to deliver news that either they don’t agree with, or they don’t like, or they don’t want to have to share. So obviously, there are certain types of communication where we know that the way we communicate matters, but are we really paying attention to the three elements as we communicate, you know, holding each element, as if it were a delicate part of a rose a petal of a rose. And we want to make sure that we don’t, in any way, disturb it or tear it. So we’re going to really pay attention to how we pivot in each of the three elements. So let’s talk about all three. Let’s start with receiving.
So to explore the three elements of the pivot, let’s create a situation, let’s create a scenario. Let’s say that we have a manager, her name is Sandy. And she has to deliver some information to her team that her team is not going to, like the senior leaders of the organization have denied the team’s request for a higher for the next year. Its marketing team, and they need another graphic designer. And they really made a pitch to the senior leaders, which by the way, Sandy is not part of that team. She sometimes meets with that team, but she’s not on that team. And so Sandy took the team’s documentation and data and she pitched it to them, the leadership team and they denied it.
And now Sandy is finding out from the director of marketing that her team is not getting the the other hire that they wanted for the year ahead. Okay, that’s the scenario. So now Sandy is talking to her leader, and her leader is sharing this information. So let’s follow Sandy, we could follow her leader to write because she’s now making the pivot as well. But let’s follow Sandy through the three elements. So the first is the listening so Sandy’s in the meeting, she’s hearing the news. Now, if you want to pivot Well, in the conversation, where you’re receiving information, and the information is important, it may or may not be emotionally charged, but it’s important and you are the receiver. And you know that at some point, you are going to be the sharer, this is important. So you This is where we really have to be mindful when we’re communicating. And often we’re not, we’re mind less in these moments, we’re hearing things and having conversations and we’re not really thinking, Wait a minute, I’m going to have to pivot here soon and become the sharer of this information. So the first part of receiving as a leader or as a person in an organization, is to ask this question, am I going to have to share this, because that, in one sense, needs to heighten my reception. Now we should always try to listen well, whether we’re going to share something or not. But there is a higher level of responsibility.
If we know we’re going to share what we’re currently hearing to really dial in, and there’s a responsibility for the person giving us the information. So Sandy’s leader has a responsibility in this first conversation. And Sandy has responsibility. Now let’s stay with Sandy. She’s hearing from her her boss, that she’s not getting the new hire. And her boss is giving her the rationale. She’s had three or four points that she’s sharing now with Sandy that came From the leadership team, you know, here’s why we have two other departments that have been waiting for three years to get, you know, another higher and we just feel like those are more important for the next year for the year ahead and some of the things we’re going to be doing. We’re also thinking of restructuring some things, Sandy, and your team, and you may be moving to another part of the organization. And let’s say the third one is that, you know, Sandy got to hire last year, and so they’re trying to distribute more equally, when teams get new hires, let’s just say those are the three areas or elements that that Sandy’s leader is sharing with her, as she’s giving the information that her team is not going to get the new graphic designer. Now. If I’m Sandy, in this moment, then I have to first remember, remember, I am going to share this. Remember, I’m going to share this. So the most important thing in the meeting with Sandy’s boss for Sandy to do is get the message clear. Get the message clear. And and the and Sandy’s boss has responsibility here as well. But what Sandy needs to do is as she’s hearing the information, she needs to be reflecting back to her boss, what she’s hearing.
And, and being very pedestrian about it. So if I’m hearing you, let’s call her Sue, if I’m hearing you, Sue, this is now Sandy speaking, if I’m hearing you, there are three reasons why the leadership team decided that we wouldn’t get the new graphic designer, one was because we we were able to get a position last year. The other is because there may be some restructuring going on. And it might affect my team. And the other is there are some areas of the organization where new hires are more important. And that’s where we’re going to focus our energy and finances in the next year. Did I get those three? Right, Sue? So what’s going on here? What’s the first thing that Sandy is doing? Sandy is taking responsibility as the receiver to try to create as much one mindedness with her boss Sue as possible. And one of the ways that she’s doing that is by reflecting back what she heard what she heard.
Now, now what she’s trying to do here, is not go yet into interpretation mode high because we all do that. Like so for instance, one interpretation is, Oh, I get it, you don’t care about my team. Now this is going to become important. So really hear this. Sandy could say, Oh, I get it, you don’t really care about the fact that, you know, my graphic designer is crushed, and now we don’t get another team member. Nope, that’s not what Sue said. That would be an interpretation of Sue’s words, on Sandy’s part, you want to keep your interpretations out of this part of the the process.
The first thing to do in receiving is to make sure that the sharer, that would be Sue and the hearer the listener, that would be Sandy are one minded, they have one mindedness about what Sue shared. So this is just good old basic listening skills. And reflecting back to sue, in Sandy’s case, what she heard and getting confirmation. That’s the first thing, get the details, right. Because what often happens is, if it’s a highly charged piece of information that Sue is sharing, then Sandy can already be checking out or reacting internally, or coming up with an interpretation that Sue doesn’t have in mind. So this is where you really have to as the as the listener take responsibility to get the facts. There are three reasons why we’re not getting another graphic designer, and here they are. Now we’re not done with the listening part. But that’s the first step. The next part of listening is first for Sandy to share how this is hitting her with Sue. This is critical remember One mindedness requires that people and teams come together. And they push and pull on ideas, and on the emotionality of the ideas. And so perhaps Sandy says, So I hear you on these three, I really do. But I gotta tell you, this is hard, because we’re getting crushed in the graphic area, and I don’t know what we’re gonna do. And now Sue and Sandy have to have a conversation about alignment.
So that Sandy is able to position this in herself before she shares it. Now we’re starting to tail in to the second piece. And this sometimes happens the processing of this, the second part happens in the first conversation that Sue and Sandy are happening. And sometimes some of it happens once Sandy leaves, but this listening piece gets us into the second element, which is processing, notice what Sandy’s doing. Now she’s processing with Sue, this is hard, I don’t like this, we need this person, this is gonna really be a strike on our team. And they were they they spent so much time putting this proposal together. And I mean, I’m gonna have to go back now and tell them, we’re not getting the person, whatever it is that Sandy needs to process, she needs to process it first with Sue, then with herself, which we’ll get to, before she shares it with her team. And this is maybe the heart of the pivot is Sandy has has got to get this information, situated in herself in a way that enables her to continue to pivot positively optimistically.
But realistically, when she shares with her team, if she doesn’t have it situated well in her, which we’ll talk about in just a minute, if she doesn’t have it situated well in herself, it’s going to likely come out as a toxic pivot. Okay, now, now, that’s just a little appetizer of where we’re headed. Let’s go back to listening for just one more moment. Sue and Sandy have been talking, they’ve agreed on the details. These are the three reasons why the leadership team said no to another position. Sandy is processing this out, which we’ll talk more about momentarily. She’s processing this out with Sue, she is trying to situate this in herself. But then there’s one more piece and I want to put the onus here on sandy, and that is to agree with Sue what she can and cannot say to her team. Now this isn’t about lying to the team. This isn’t about trying to manipulate the situation so that you don’t actually tell the team the truth.
I don’t mean that. But not everything that gets shared, let’s say with Sue and Sandy can be shared necessarily with the team, it may not be appropriate. For example, it may not yet be appropriate for Sandy to tell her team that there is a restructuring afoot in the organization. And it might change where her team lives inside the org chart that just might not be appropriate at this point. It might not ever even happen. So this is where Sandy needs to say to sue, of course, we can put some responsibility on Sue here, right as well. But we’re thinking we’re following Sandy through this scenario. So from Sandy’s point of view, she needs to ask if it’s okay to share all three points. And let’s just cut to the chase and say that Sue says to Sandy, you can’t share about the reorg because we’re not even sure it’s going to happen. And they agree on the facts that are going to be shared. Now, if Sue is a good leader, she’ll probably at this point want to say this. Sandy, why don’t you share with me how you’re going to share this with your team so that they get a greater element of one mindedness. Now you might say wow, this is wow, this is kind of taken a lot of time here. Think about all the problems that happen in an organization. When communication goes awry, because pivots are not done well, and ask yourself, if you had to take five or 10 more minutes in the conversation that Sue and Sandy are having, so that you had a better conversation when you pivoted to your team? Would it be worth it? And I believe that the answer to that is a resounding yes.
We spend so much time talking about the message, we don’t focus on how to best continue to communicate it as it moves through the organization. So we’ve talked about listening, listening with intent, listening with intention, and then reflecting back what was heard. And what you’re looking for is to gain the the facts that can be shared, and those that can’t. And there’s also the first element of processing that occurs. And we’re gonna get to that in just a minute. And that is Sue and Sandy having a conversation about how this is hitting Sandy. Because if, if Sandy doesn’t get this situated right in her and she turns to her team, it’s more likely, she’s going to lace toxicity in to the pivot.
The first element is to listen, reflect back what’s being heard, determine what facts will be shared, and start processing the information for Sandy. So let’s move to that second element of processing. The second element in the anatomy of a pivot is the processing. Now we’ve already started down this road. So you can see that processing is your ability to situate difficult messages inside yourself, so that you can authentically share them as the communicator or as the leader in a particular situation. Most toxic pivots, that is when toxicity gets laced into a pivot. And it doesn’t just have to be words, it can be the tone of my voice, it can be the posture of my body, an eye roll a sigh, all these various subtle and not so subtle ways we send messages about the message. I mean, I’ve seen some really pretty direct messages about the message like,
Okay, everybody, wait till I tell you what the genius upstairs has this doing now. Okay, now, that is a pretty obvious toxic pivot. But there are very subtle pivots. Very subtle ways. You can send messages about a message you don’t like the sighing the eye rolling the nervousness of how you’re delivering it, the the beating around the bush, I mean, there are there are all kinds of things that can happen that can send a message to the other people who are now hearing what you’re sharing that you are not okay with this. And so much disruption occurs in an organization. When leaders I’m gonna speak now to leaders, when leaders do not pivot well. And they lace, emotional, or verbal toxicity into their words. This is this is one of the most damaging effects on alignment is a simple? Yeah. Oh, yeah. No, I’m telling you exactly what she told me. You hear the tone in my voice. Or an eye roll, or sigh or the way I sit in my chair. toxicity in a pivot diminishes alignment. And then of course, we can forget about engaging our energy well together to advance this thing that we’ve heard about now that we have to do. I mean, they’re just there’s nothing but deflation over it when a leader adds toxicity to a pivot. So how do you process hard messages, challenging messages, difficult messages, so that when you turn to the third element, which is sharing it, so that when you do that you don’t add toxicity.
So let’s talk about some things you can do. Now, where are we, in our story with Sandy and Sue, Sandy and Sue are wrapping up their conversation, but they’ve started the process, the second element, they started the processing in their conversation. And this is important, because if you’re not honest, in that first conversation, where Sue and Sandy are talking, if Sandy and Sue don’t process enough together, to have a one mindedness, it’s more likely that Sandy is going to struggle in her own processing. Because maybe this is where the leader heard leader, Sue doesn’t do a good job of letting her process have to be careful here.
I know, we’re following Sandy. But let’s hop over to Sue. If you’re a leader, and you’re presenting something, and people get frustrated by what you’re sharing, and they have questions about it, and they have challenging emotions around it, and you shut that down, then you’re only more you’re making it more likely that people will simply go underground, and either sabotage, or talk when you’re not in the room. This is why the first step of processing for Sandy, before she talks to her team is to process with her leader and her leader Sue needs to give her space to be able to do this, this goes back to the whole notion of what alignment is about.
It’s about a one mindedness and, and a place where we are able to emotionally and psychologically and intellectually, agree align, we’re together, we’re choosing this path together. There’s tremendous power in that, remember, and this processing of the information between Sandy and Sue is critical for that alignment. But it’s also critical for Sue, as she continues to process. So let’s say they do actually a pretty good job of processing and Sue desam some nice, empathetic listening, man, Sandy, I’m sorry, I know your team really wanted this and I wanted it to, but it just isn’t going to happen next year. And they process and you know, Sandy says, Well, I this is this is hard, but you know, I’m gonna I’m gonna make it through this. And so will my team. So let’s just say that they end in a pretty good spot. But Sandy still feeling the sting, she still reeling? Okay, well, here we go. That is not the time to go talk to your team.
That would be the wrong time to pivot. To a meeting with the people, you have to share this news with Sandy is not ready. She needs to process in her own self more before she’s ready to share with her team. And here’s what Sandy needs to do. She needs to situate the message. That’s the first thing she needs to situate the message. And she does this by finding what I call the threads of authenticity. In other words, what Sandy has to find and what she has to be able to pull on when she is wrestling this down internally and then sharing with her team. She’s got to find those threads, where she can be authentically in on the decision. Now we are at the core, we are at the core of a of a of a well crafted pivot. Before Sandy can pivot and share she must find the authentic space in herself to be in on the decision, the leadership teammate because she is a leader in the organization. And if she bashes the leadership team, or does something even more subtle, you know again, the eye roll or the the geniuses who, you know, the bean counters won’t let us have another graphic designer, I mean, just think of all the things that she could say to her team that would Splinter that would cause alignment to splinter. And alignment. splintered means unleashing, is impossible.
If we want unity of power of action, that alignment is critical. So it is not the right time for Sandy, who is not yet authentically in on this message, it’s not the right time for her to talk to her team. It may not be the right time for her to talk to anyone other than maybe a trusted confidant who she can vent to process through and get the message situated in authentic ways insider pull on those threads that allow her to be authentic. And what I mean is, she has to actually own the message. She has to own it, she has to own it, it has to be hers. It cannot be vai said, No, they won’t let us because all that does is misaligned her team with the leadership team. And all it does is cause animosity between those two teams, maybe without the teams even knowing it.
This is the power of the person in the middle who’s pivoting the message, they have tremendous power to send a message to their team in a way that creates animosity to another part of the organization. And that other part doesn’t even know it. So man, Sandy is a critical leader in this moment. And if you play a role like Sandy, if you are a leader, and you have to pivot these kinds of communications and messages, this you should hold this as a sacred trust to do this processing. So that when you turn you not only share with your team in a way that will help them but you don’t inadvertently or intentionally create animosity on your team for other parts of the organization. So Sandy, is going to situate the message in herself. First by pulling on threads of awesome authenticity. Now what do I mean by that? Well, I mean that Sandy is going to go through a process to get the message authentically situated in her so that when she says it, she means it. She’s not. She’s not lying. She’s not shading hedging. You can’t tell on her face that, you know, she’s a bad poker player. And and she doesn’t really agree with this note, Sandy has to get this message authentically situated in her so that when she goes back to her team, what she conveys is a disappointment, but no an alignment with the decision.
Now how can she do this? She has to find the the threads where she can agree or align is probably the better word with what the leadership team did. Yeah, you know, it’s true. Those other two departments, they really are hurting for staff as well. And I mean, there’s an I did get we they’re right, I did get another staff person last year. And in fact, I remember two people on the leadership team went way out of their way to make sure that we got that person. And what a difference Jim has made on our team. You know, right? That’s right. I forgot about that. And didn’t know about the reorg can’t share that yet. But if there is reorg coming makes total sense.
Why right now would not be the time to hire someone else. Because the last thing we would want to do is hire someone, then go through a reorg and not be able to sustain the new hire that throws the team. What’s what Sandy doing, what Sandy doing, as she’s processing this out. She is trying to situate the message inside her in an authentic way. So that when she turns to her team to share the, quote, unfortunate news, close quote, she can be authentically engaged as a leader who is owning the message, not subtly, or, or overtly sending the message to her team that she’s disgusted with it. Can’t believe it. And is is not sure what she’s getting none of that. None of that. When she goes to her team, she needs to have it situated in her in a way that she could say, team, the leadership team made this decision. And I agree with it. And I agree with it. It doesn’t mean it didn’t disappoint me. But I agree with it. And let me tell you why I agree with it. Even though it’s disappointing. Let me tell you why. And let me also tell you, why I know we will rise to the occasion, to come up with creative solutions to the work that’s on our plates, that we now have to do without a new hire. We’ve done it before. I believe in us, we can do it again, though I’m disappointed. I believe in the leadership team. I think they made the right decision after I understood and what I’m going to share with you, I think you will see too, that this was the right decision.
That that’s how Sandy needs to be able to own it. And if she can’t own that, then she starts to splinter away from alignment with her leaders. And if that continues to grow, if that splintering becomes a wedge, and then the wedge becomes bigger and bigger and bigger, then you start to have people in organizations who are just perpetually disappointed. And it’s like, that’s like they have a wound that didn’t heal well. And so anytime someone brushes up against it, that it immediately discharges with this high emotionality. There they go again, they’re doing it again, I can’t believe this. And at that point, you have somebody who probably doesn’t belong in the organization anymore. Why? Because for too long, when things didn’t go the way they wanted them to go, they never situated those things, those decisions authentically, they never owned them. They never tried to own them. They just blamed the people who made the decision. If you want to maintain alignment, and you are part of the leadership body that helps to do that, or a contributor that helps to do that, you must monitor your own authenticity around decisions that are made. And if you don’t have authenticity, then you have to stop pause process and get to a point where you can pull on certain threads where you can say, I’m in, I may be disappointed. But I’m in and I believe in us. And we’re moving forward. Now, what’s going on in this positioning inside of Sandy,
she’s doing two things. Number one, she is being realistic. She’s finding. So this is her trying to pull on the threads of authenticity. The first thing that she’s pulling on is she’s being realistic. She’s saying I’m disappointed. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying that to her team, it would all depend on the tone. And what follows her saying I’m disappointed. But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a pivot from a leader that says team, I got to tell you, we didn’t get that new person. And I’m disappointed. I’m disappointed. I was bummed when I heard it. But that’s being realistic. If you went to your team is Sandy went to her team and said, Hey, good news. We’re not getting the person isn’t that good? You know, they’re though that leadership team, they know they really know what they’re doing. It’s so good. We’re not getting the the new hire, the team would look at her like what is wrong with you. So this is not about being pollyannish or rose colored. This is about situating it first in a realistic way team.
I’m disappointed. We didn’t get it. But there has to be a but if you’re disappointed, but you don’t go on to share the other realistic reasons why the decision was made, then you’re not you’re being disingenuous, you’re not authentically situated yourself. So what Sandy could say his team, I gotta tell you, when Sue told me I was disappointed, but as we talked about it, it made a lot of sense. It made a lot of sense. And so let me share with you why it made sense to me. Number One. Remember last year, I remember how the leadership team went to bat for our team. When we needed Jim. And Jim was hired. And think of how Jim has changed the dynamic on our team. Let’s hear it for Jim. Think of how He’s changed the dynamic that the leadership team last year, they went to bat for us. And you know what, they’re going to bat for a couple other important departments. And we’re going to put we notice what she says, we were going to put resources there. And it’s disappointing. I know, we all agree, we need that graphic designer.
But you know what, I believe in this organization, not just in our team. And I believe in these other two departments, and they need help, and I’m in, I’m in, that’s how you, you share realistically, that’s how you share realistically, now, if, if, if Sandy can’t get there, in herself, she’ll never be able to share that with any measure of authenticity. That’s why processing is so critical. And it is the it’s the centerpiece of a really good pivot, or of a really not good pivot. Because Sandy could actually do, as we’ve already mentioned, a lot of damage to the organization by pivoting with toxicity. Take time, before you share as a leader, before you share difficult news, that’s also hard for you take time to situate the message in yourself. So that you are pulling on the threads of authenticity. Where do where can you align? Where can you find commonality? And where can you find ways to say I am in on this decision, though, it was hard, though I was disappointed. I’m in being realistic. And then number two, the second frame of situating, the message is finding the optimism in the difficulty.
Look, I know this is going to be hard here come Sandy, again, she’s thinking to herself how she’s going to share this. I know this is going to be hard. But you know what I believe in us. I believe in us, I believe in our team, I believe in our ingenuity. I’ve seen us do this over and over again. We’ve overcome way bigger disappointments than this. And you know what we do, we rise to achieve what needs to be done. We cover each other, we help each other, we support each other. And we’re going to do it again. And I believe in the leadership team. And I believe that in the next year to they’re going to be going back to bat for us, just like they did last year, and just like they’re doing for the other teams
this year, we can do this. So let’s be disappointed. But we can do this. Okay, now what am I doing here? What am I doing here? We’re starting to trail into the third element, right? Each of these sort of overlaps the one before it. So what Sandy is doing is she’s processing out for herself, ways in which she can situate the message in her. And then, as she situating the message in herself, she’s coming up with the words she can use to share with her team. Processing leads to good sharing, processing, when I really process it internally, and situate the message in myself well, and get it get it they’re in me and
I’m authentic, and I’m engaged and I’m in and I’m with the leadership team on this decision. When I can get there, then that leads me naturally to the words I’m going to use when I talk to my team. The first element of a good pivot is to listen. The second is to process it to authenticity, to situate a message both realistically and optimistically inside you. And the third then, is to choose and design your words and your communication. So that your authenticity, both the realism and the optimism of your authenticity. shines out when you’re communicating the message sharing the message from the place of authenticity, based on the good listening, that I did, gathering the facts, ensuring I’m aligned with what can be communicated, positioning it in an authentic way in me, and then sharing it. The sharing is the third element of the anatomy of a pivot.
And as we’ve already mentioned, the beginnings of the sharing the beginnings of the wording you’ll use to communicate the message are coming to you, as you process out that second step, that second part of the anatomy. As you’re processing to find the authentic place where you can own the message, the words are starting to come to you. But now in the sharing, you’re actually really focused on creating that in designing the right communication message. So let’s talk a little bit about sharing. Back to Sandy, it’s 3pm, on a Thursday afternoon, Sandy’s having a staff meeting, her heart’s beating a little faster today, because she’s gonna share this piece of information. Her team is not getting the new hire. But she’s ready. Because she’s prepared to share. She’s prepared. So let’s talk about the sharing. So the sharing has three elements to it, the preparing for it, right. And that’s the part that touches the processing. So preparing, sharing, and following up, preparing, sharing and following up. So preparing the message is taking the internal processing that you’ve done to pull on the threads of authenticity in an optimistic and realistic way. And coming up with words that you’re going to use, you prepare, this is big, this is big, this could deflate Sandy’s team, this could cause some bitterness to arise. This could cause some frustration that could hurt productivity or effectiveness of the team. So it’s important that she prepare. It’s important that her team hear the right words. So she’s going to prepare, what’s she going to do? Well,
she’s going to develop a series of word tracks, things that she’s going to say. And she’s going to go back to her processing. And think, what were the things that helped me get to a place of authenticity and ownership around this message. And she’s gonna start by crafting those pieces of her own process into some word tracking, you know, these are, these are phrases and words that she will use, or maybe some that she will avoid. So she starts to put together the message. So maybe she she, you know, in her own processing, if you remember, said, you know, the team last year, the leadership team really went to bat for us. And Jim is a result of that. Our new team member over this last year has made such a difference. And that’s because of what the leadership team did. So now she’s going to use that word track. She’s going to talk about that, that the team went to bat for her team.
The Leadership Team enabled her team to hire Jim. So she’s, she’s got that part. Now that she’s going to lace in. Maybe she’s also going to talk about the other departments and how important those other departments are to the overall mission. And how she tries to think about how she could build goodwill between her team and those other departments. Remember, when we got the maybe she thinks this? I’m going to tell my team this. Remember when we got the news that we were able to hire Jim? I mean, didn’t y’all feel really great about that? Our colleagues over in these other two departments, they’re going to feel that way. Now that we should celebrate for them, they need these positions. So she is coming up with wording and tracking patterns, things she’s going to say and things she’s going to avoid. Maybe she’s not going to say she’s decided that she’s not going to say they denied our request, because it just puts an immediate frame on it that though it’s true. Doesn’t need to be the way she says it. But she’s not going to beat around the bush either. So she She’s decided she’s going to say the leadership team met. And then I met with Sue.
And as we’ve all talked about it, and the decision was made, that this year, we won’t be getting a new hire. But good news, two of our departments in the organization are going to get much needed relief by both being able to hire someone. So we’re not going to have a new hire our colleagues are, and that’s really important. And that’s how she’s going to share it. So she’s, she is framing it a certain way. Now, that doesn’t, that doesn’t mean that people won’t, you know, read into that, oh, they said we couldn’t have one. But she’s decided that for her team. That’s not the way she wants to share it. So she’s coming up with the messaging, that’s the first part of the prepping, is what words will I use? And what words will I not use? And then practicing. That’s the second part. She practices. She had a couple days to get ready for this. So she ran it by a colleague, hey, I’m going to say it this way.
What do you think? And her colleague gave her a couple of, of suggestions. And she altered it based on that. And then she’s rehearsed it a couple times. And you say, Are you Are you being serious right now? Dave? Practice it? Absolutely. Absolutely. The quality of your ability to message this authentically, is somewhat dependent on the words you are able to harness in the moment of delivery. And just like you would practice a presentation, you’re practicing, because you want the words that you’re going to use to matter, you want them to land, right, you can’t control whether they do or not, but you want to do all you can to support the decision to support the leadership team, and to support your team. And then she realizes, okay, yeah, and then I’m gonna flip over to I really believe in us, I know, this is disappointing, but I so value this team and what we can do, and I’ve even been thinking about, maybe there’s a couple of projects that we can put on hold. While we do the work we need to do, which will free up some time, I want us to talk about how we can get in genius with our resources and how we can maybe put some things on, on, on hold while we do other work, we can make it through this team. Okay, so she’s got it all.
She’s got it. And she’s prepped it. And it’s 259. And she’s walking in or teams walking in. And, you know, it’s that moment where everybody’s coming in, there’s some banter, there’s some laughing, and she sits down and they kind of move into the agenda. And she starts and she shares. And she does all she can do to bring her practice and those words that she practiced, which which are authentic, and you know why they’re authentic, because she processed it out. She can speak from a place of authenticity, because she she really now bliss, this, this is not, I’m you know, it’s not the company line. I really believe this, I have processes to a place of authenticity in me. And her team sees that. And here’s your saying we and I agree. And as I was thinking about it, and the leadership team, and as I talked to sue and we and all of a sudden the team starts to see that she’s in that that Sandy’s in now they still may not like it.
We’re not there yet, what their response is going to be. But she comes from a place of authenticity, and she shares it. Now what she’s doing as she shares is she’s noticing, she’s noticing how this message is landing. She’s watching she’s observing. She’s noticing body posture. A couple of people sit back in their chair and you no one sort of rolls their pencil across, you know, not slams it down, but puts it down and it sort of rolls across and you know, she’s ready for this. She’s been preparing herself. My team’s gonna struggle with this. I struggled with this. Let your team struggle with this sandy, but then help them through the struggle. Su helped you through the struggle, you process yourself to a place of authenticity. Don’t try to make your team feel bad for feeling bad, but help them move on.
So she’s noticing what’s going on and that’s a big part. When you’re delivering the message. You’re watching. You’re noticing you’re letting people have a reaction. I mean, as long as it’s appropriate. They’re not throwing things across the room. are screaming are, but you know, we have to be able to react to something, particularly if it’s difficult. And the beautiful thing here for Sandy is, she’s already been through the process of finding the authenticity. Now what she needs to do is let her team and help facilitate her team through that same process. So she’s watching. She’s, and then she opens it up. And some of the very things that she felt her team says to her, and they even throw in some interpretations like, I can’t believe this, do they not understand. And she says, you know, as we talked, and she brings it back to her owning it. And then her team, you know, let’s just go ahead and say in this scenario that most of her team comes around, but one person on the team, let’s just say, Derek, he’s, he’s not receiving this Well, and, and the rest of the meeting, you can just tell he’s, he’s peeved, and and he’s just not himself.
So she’s noticed this, and now she’s going to go and follow up. That’s the third piece, there may be some conversations after the conversation that Sandy needs to have, or that you need to have when you’re sharing difficult information. So the first thing she does is she goes to Derek, and they have a conversation. And she processes it out. And she finds out that Derek actually was holding on to something. Because this had happened to him a few years ago, in another part of the organization where they got denied a new hire, and he said, I you know, it just all came back to me and, and I’m fine, you know, and they process it through. And she brings out the possibility for him to align right. So she’s, she cares about Derek, she wants Derek to be able to process out what he needs to get to a point of alignment and engagement. Maybe she talks to some of the other people on the team. And then let’s say a few days later, she comes back to her team and says, you know, we’ve had a few more days to really process out, I’ve talked to many of you or all of you about it. And now it’s time and here we go. Now it’s time for us to ensure we have one mind on this.
And what does one mind mean team? It means no bashing the leadership team about their decision, because you know what? It’s not their decision. I agree with their decision. And now we need to get to a point of alignment around their decision. Is anyone still struggling? Because I want us to be aligned with the leadership team. I want us to be in agreement with their decision to give our colleagues the ability to hire some new personnel. I want us to celebrate with those departments. So is there anything else we need to talk about? Because when we leave today, we need to have achieved our one mindedness around this. Is there anything holding anybody back?
Let’s talk? And then she does what we talked about in the earlier segment of the audio program around alignment.
Jim, are you in? Derek? Sarah, I lean. Pete. We’re all in. It was disappointing. We believe in each other. We believe in our leadership team. We believe in these other departments. We’re in? Does everybody feel like they’re in? And let’s say for the sake of, of this particular example, that everybody at this point is in? Yes. What does that doing? It’s creating positive accountability, that when the team leaves the meeting, they will not toxically pivot, either. Because Wow.
When a leader pivots in a toxic way, and then let’s say let’s say it’s a bigger team, let’s say it’s 50 people in an organization. And when I’ve seen this, a leader stands up in front of the larger, let’s say 50 people in an organization, there are a department and she toxically pivots. And then 43 of the 50 toxically pivot out into the organization. Can you say multiplication? Can you see why alignment is so critical and so damaging when it’s it’s when misalignment is the result of a toxic pivot, and it can just infect like a virus just boom, through the organism. One toxic pivot after another after another after another. But the opposite can happen as well. So Sandy’s team is aligned. They have owned it emotionally.
They were disappointed. But they’re walking down the hallway and they see. They see someone coming from the other department. Let’s call him Joe. And two, two people stop. And they talked to Joe. And one of them says, Hey, we heard, we heard the good news. We were bombed. But we are so glad you get a new hire. And you think maybe at this point, oh, come on, Dave. This is this is starting to sound like unicorns and rainbows.
Maybe. But that’s a problem. If it is. Why wouldn’t teams in the same organization who share a common mission? Why wouldn’t they want each other to succeed? Even if sometimes it means I will sacrifice so that you can succeed? Isn’t that what this is all about when we’re pursuing a mission together? To avoid toxic pivots may be one of the most important leadership qualities any leader any contributor can bring to his or her organization. Everyone’s going to pivot information. Will it be toxic? Or will it be optimistic and realistic? Listen, process, share. Take these three elements and the the associated ideas and start to notice and practice pivoting. With these actions and behaviors and see over time, what happens not only to your own authenticity, but to the authenticity of your team of many teams, have the entire organization, pivot well consistently over time and watch your culture change