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Paula Deen’s Non-Apology

Paula Deen, the celebrity chef and cooking show host, continues to have problems because her attempts at apologizing for making racial slurs are really not apologies – they are explanations, denials, and justifications.  This is evident in her recent interview with Matt Lauer on the Today Show. Apologies are closure conversations in which one admits […]

How Important Is Communication?

Kristen Piombino reports that subscribers to the Harvard Business Review rated the ability to communicate “the most important fact in making an executive promotable.” They even ranked in more important than ambition, education, and hard work. But what exactly does the “ability to communicate” mean?  We have found that most people believe they are communicating, […]

When Explanations Fail You, Try a Picture

A manager in a recent Four Conversations training session approached me and asked, “One of my employees frequently fails to accomplish the things I delegate to him.  Do you have any suggestions for improving his performance?” “Sure”, I replied, “but first, when you say he fails, what do you mean?  Is he late, is the […]

Is It A Committed Complaint?

People complain about many things – the weather, their bosses, the government, etc. Some of these complaints – what we call “committed complaints” – they want to resolve. They want to find a way to get the complaint handled, fixed, and eliminated so things will improve. For example, every time an associate of mine opened […]

Worst Employer Needs Closure Conversation

When the employer-review site Glassdoor.com recently designated Dish Network the country’s worst employer, Dish Network CEO Joe Clayton called the worst-employer label “ridiculous.” Unfortunately, Joe’s denial won’t change what employees or, now, the public think.  If he really wanted to change how Dish has been branded, he would start with a Closure Conversation. Closure conversations […]

Unreasonable Request Saves the Class

If you find yourself in a difficult position, make an unreasonable request – you might be surprised by the result. On Friday, April 13 I received an unreasonable request from a colleague at Benedictine University. He asked if I would come to Benedictine and teach an Executive Ph.D. course on organization change the following Wednesday, […]

Closure Can Save A Reputation

I have a friend who’s reputation is being damaged by not having a closure conversation. Jay, the friend of mine, was recently accused of lying by Colleen,.  According to Colleen, Jay agreed to print and assemble materials for a training session on community service.  Since this was something Colleen was used to doing, and was […]

The Missing Conversation(s)

A program director in one of the colleges here at Ohio State is paying the price for not having the appropriate conversations with his boss, the dean of the college. Kevin, as director of programs, is responsible for admissions into the undergraduate and graduate programs in his college.  In a recent conversation, he pointed out […]