June 2015

 Research on how to teach children with ADHD is unanimous.

Let them move.

“Patients and teachers need to stop telling children to sit still,” says Dr. Julie Schweitzer, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the MIND Institute with the University of California in Davis. While Schweitzer acknowledges that physical activity can be disruptive to others, “we need to find ways to integrate socially appropriate ways of moving.”

True for children with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). True for many business situations, as well.

Moving increases alertness, so the theory goes, when you have ADHD.

Our ability to stay alert is, of course, a key factor in completing any business task, as well. How often have you sat in a meeting and thought to yourself this conversation is going nowhere? Quite possibly, the conversation isn’t moving because no one present is physically moving.

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So many reasons to be impatient, aren’t there?

Impatient with the snail’s pace of how decisions are made.

Impatient with colleagues who don’t get their stuff done.

Impatient with yet another layer of process.

Impatient with incompetence.

Impatience with folks who lie.

Impatient with the status quo.

And yet, if you’re the one who gets impatient in a meeting, they suddenly call you an arrogant sonofabitch. What’s up with that?

Patience is a virtue. Impatience is a bigger virtue.

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Sometimes, you gotta deliver bad news.

If you’re a physician, you deliver bad news a lot.

Dr. Andrew Epstein, an oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Center in Manhattan, leads a monthly seminar for medical students on how to dicuss bad medical news with patients and families.

I am struck by the simple wisdom of Dr. Epstein’s guidelines (The Wall Street Journal, 5/19/2015). This wisdom applies to absolutely any conversation we have.

  • Deliver bad news in a quiet, private area.
  • Ask what they already know about their medical situation. And ask for permission to sharae the news you have.
  • Use silence to acknowledge emotions.
  • Show empathy. It is OK for doctors to shed tears with their patients.
  • Talk about next steps.
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We had a great conversation! you say enthusiastically after you leave the meeting, a satisfied grin on your face.

What made it a great conversation? You enjoyed it? It flowed effortlessly? You got your point across? You got the outcome you desired?

Does it mean it’s NOT a great conversation if you didn’t get what you wanted?

I propose a different personal standard for a great conversation.

You dual-tracked it.

That’s what great business conversationalists do. They play on two tracks, at the same time, all the time.

 Track 1:      I listen to what my conversation partner is saying.

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