Communication Practices

30
Jul

What Makes Someone An Extraordinary Communicator?

Last year I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Paul Jones, CEO of Magneto Communications, a training firm that helps people be more efficient, effective, and influential in the way they write. Paul’s blog includes interviews with thought leaders on the topics of influence and communication. I’m honored to have been included. Here’s an abridged version of that interview:Paul Jones: Who,

Read more

16
Jul

The Risk of Everyday Communication

Ten or so years ago I got a call from a global consulting firm that specializes in risk management. They help clients around the world manage financial risk, cyber security, corporate misconduct, and fraud potential. So why were they calling Ridge? To help manage a risk they observed in their own organization: everyday communication. I had never thought about communication as

Read more

20
Jun

How Listening Overcomes “Bad Apple” Behavior

A few years ago I tuned into This American Life, the radio show and hugely popular podcast hosted by Ira Glass. Just as I turned it on, I heard Glass conclude a story this way:   “If listening is all it takes to overcome bad behavior… If listening is more powerful than meanness, sloth, or depression… It’s like a trick from

Read more

7
Jun

Preparing for Difficult Conversations

Confronting performance problems, giving tough feedback, being candid about smoldering conflicts, delivering bad news: these are the impending conversations that keep you up at night, or that you wake to in the morning. They occupy your mind while you’re trying to do other work. You wonder, “How am I going to bring it up?” Your mind makes movies about what

Read more

7
Nov

A Way To Win the Peace After the Election Is Over

Regardless of who is elected President tomorrow, one thing is certain: the divisions in the United States will be stronger than ever. Our nation is fragmented and increasingly self-segregating. We’re driven toward and seek out like-minded people. We have less tolerance for people with differing values and beliefs. We talk about others’ positions as if they’re inherently wrong, not that

Read more

25
Oct

“What We’ve Got Here Is Failure To Communicate”

This famous line from the classic film Cool Hand Luke is unfortunately more prophetic than we might like to admit. We think of communication as a straightforward process: I talk, you listen, you talk, I listen, we understand each other. What’s so hard about that? Sometimes communication actually is that straightforward, but often it’s not. The Bay of Pigs provides

Read more

15
Jan

Learning to Love Feedback You Don’t Like

Feedback about our behavior is all around us. We step on the scale and we get feedback about how much we weigh and, indirectly, about behaviors that cause our weight to go up or down. We don’t always like the feedback we get but we don’t argue with it. Even if the scale is off by a couple of pounds,

Read more

7
Aug

Can We Be Candid?

Business literature (particularly in the US) is filled with calls for workforce candor. Jack Welch devoted an entire chapter to it in his best seller, Winning. Jim Collins encourages business leaders to “confront the brutal facts” to get from Good to Great. Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan talk about the importance of “robust dialogue” in Execution. And for good reason:

Read more