December 14, 2019
Thank you Vlad.
Hi. So let’s start with a story.
So last summer, my family and I went on a road trip down south.
We were heading towards our resort by the mountains when some where along the way, the
conversation between my wife and I became like this:
“Honey, we seem to be going along this route for quite some time, and we don’t seem to
be getting any closer to the resort.” “Do you think we might be lost?”
And I go: “Come on. We can’t be lost.”
“We might have made a few false turns earlier, but I’ve got GPS!”
“Don’t worry.” And she goes:
“Huh, but look at the kids.” “They seem a bit restless, tired and hungry.”
“And I’m about to explode.” “Do you think it’s a good idea if we could
stop some where and ask for… directions?” And I go, and this is the part where it goes
down south: “Nah! Trust me!”
“I know my way, I’ve done this many times.” “We’ve been to this resort hundreds of times,”
“and I’ve got GPS.” “We’ll get there as soon as you know it.”
And obviously the rest of that day and the trip didn’t end up well, especially for me.
Most of us will find this situation pretty familiar, don’t we?
I hope not many but sometimes we do. Don’t you wish we can rewind these times and
perhaps say, use different words or use words in a different way?
With our loved ones and our co-workers? Why should we be concerned with how bad conversations
affect us? Make us lose sleep, damage our relationships,
or worse, resort to violence? Oh, by the way, there’s one small error in
this picture. This is actually a photo of us in another
argument, following the road trip. Nah, I’m just joking!
So why? Well I believe it’s because everyone communicates
differently. There is diversity in the people that we live
and work with these days. We have, we come from different backgrounds,
with different priorities, motivations, and cultures.
We also have technology that provides us with a large variety of communication modes, devices,
and the networks that we use. So all these present certain complexities
to the effectiveness and the feeling of pleasantness in our communications with one another.
So I’d like to share with you four communication styles that influences the effectiveness and
outcomes of our interactions. Hopefully, with this knowledge and some practice,
you will be able to understand and deal with different styles.
So the four communication styles that we have recently learnt are:
Analytical, driver, amiable and expressive. Now this is just one of several communication
styles in the area of behavioral science. So if you have, if you know some other models
in the past, feel free to compare with what I’m about to share.
If you haven’t, just use this. So, a few things about this model.
First, I’ll describe words and behaviors that reflect observable human emotions and characteristics.
There are certain tensions and challenges between styles that are diagonally opposite
of each other in this slide. But I’ll offer some very simple tips on how
to overcome the challenges. Last, we don’t necessarily belong to one style
forever. We often start with a default style and as
the interaction or the conversation progresses, we tend to mix with other styles, as the situation
sees fit. So which style do you think you are?
I’ll run through each style with a common scenario that we know of which is sprint planning.
And describe how team members might behave using each of these styles.
So let’s start with Analytical. So the analytical person likes being rational.
He likes being cautious, having lots of information at his fingertips.
Thinking and deliberating on decisions because he needs the time to be confident on what
he is about to understand. Often times, an analytical person wants to
be perfect and wants to be right. So for example, an analytical developer in
the team could be deliberate in estimating the scope of work in the sprint because he
wants to spend lots of time breaking down the feature tickets, understanding and validating
the options. The cost of this might be extensive planning
time and lack of commitment from other team members.
The Driver style, possibly like me. So a driver is decisive. He values achievement.
He is, focuses on being progressive, being ambitious, focusing on the end goals rather
than the journey to those goals. Often times, a driver might be seen by others
as being tough, exclusive to decision making, and perhaps even dominating conversations.
So for example, a team lead who might be described as being a driver kind of person might have
the habit of dominating the planning conversations and making most of the decisions for the team.
He thrives on establishing medium to long term goals and perhaps leaving out crucial
implementation details or issues. Next, the Amiable style.
An amiable person, an amiable person is full of, full of feelings.
He is a good listener, he is inclusive of others, collaborative and sensitive to everyone’s
emotions and motivations. Often times, an amiable person needs acceptance
and perhaps even hesitate or yield in favor decisions made for them.
So maybe a tester could be amiable and he could be sensitive to working relationships
between team members and wants to involve everyone in the team in making decisions.
Collaboration is heavily promoted by the amiable person so he spends a lot of time understanding
and understanding one another before they all come to a conclusion.
Last, an Expressive person. An expressive person is full of energy, he
is confident, fosters team spirit, is open to ideas, is full of creative options, he
is flexible to taking different approaches. But he could often be seen as being impulsive
or over-promising others. So say an expressive developer in the team,
yup, he might be good at coming up with different approaches to implementing the solution but
he might not be spending enough time to make well-informed decisions.
So, which one are you? Now understanding that there are various characteristics
and behaviors of each style. If you were to approach someone with a style
that you recognize from these words, how would you interact with that person better than
before? So these are the simple tips that I’m offering.
If you happen to be working an analytical person, then be prepared, be accurate.
Be patient in the way you interact with that analytical person because he might be taking
a lot of time before he comes back to you and says “yes”.
If you have a driver, then be efficient. When you go to him with suggestions or with
a question, provide actions and goals. Be clear and concise.
If you have an amiable friend, then be warm and agreeing.
Provide genuine feedback, be agreeable and be open to his or her feelings.
If you have an expressive spouse, say, and if you want to sell, if you want to be, if
you want to have permission to buy the next PlayStation 7, well then, be stimulating.
Reflect her energy, sell the big picture, and be open to alternatives, such as Scrabble
or something. So, this, this is the model and these are
the principles behind uh, this uh, model of communication styles.
And these are the tips. Now, resources.
I’d like to share with you a few resources that I’ve found quite useful, uh, in my journey
to being an effective communicator. One of them is this website called Crystal.
Crystal curates social information about friends, family, co-workers, your enemies, whatever
you like and gives you recommendations on how to interact with them.
So if you sign up and if you pick on somebody like, say, the President of the United States,
not for long. So for example, for me, if I were to have
to interact with him, uh, sometime soon, I might to have key phrases like “I understand
how you feel” or “I’d love your support”. What do you think his style is?
Seems to me he’s an amiable person. Alright.
And I were to be writing to the President or speaking to him in person, then this website
is able to recommend tone of voice, choice of words, and the pace in which I’d speak
to him or write to him. Next, the Leadership Guild.
So I highly recommend that you approach the Leadership Guild should you need help in effective
communications because they are a group of passionate people who have built a huge library
of resources and make, uh, their own time available to you to help you in areas such
as influencing and communicating. So do, uh, seek them out.
Last, there are handouts that will be made available at the end of the room at the end
of this session. And I highly recommend that you take a copy
each, make copies of that exercise sheet, and fill them up depending on the situation
you are in. So fill them up, circle the expressions or
the behaviors that appeal to you, that reflect what you are in situations such as when you’re
working, when you’re at home, or when you’re at play.
Better yet, make more copies and share with your friends, your co-workers, uh, your loved
ones. Have them fill them about what they think
they are, and so maybe there will be opportunities for you to understand one another better.
So I want to leave you with one last thing, which is the word “flex”.
Remember? Everyone communicates differently, so it is important to sense the style of others
and flex with them. When others realize that you make a conscious
effort to complement their communication styles, they will reflect the action back to you.
So be like water. Water is a molecule that exists in three different
states. It’s able to fit in any space that it’s in.
So flex like water. So with the skills, and the knowledge of this
communication styles, and some practice, hopefully we will be able to gain benefits such as better
team work and outcomes, less conflict in our world, and maybe, at least for me, more enjoyable
road trips while getting lost. Thank you.