Last week as I was perusing the aisles of my local supermarket (I went for rye bread, perusing was for cake), I bumped into a former colleague of mine, a really talented couples therapist. We started talking about couples therapy and various styles, mine is pretty distinct (strategic therapy). She mentioned that she had recently been to a workshop by Terrence Real and he brought up the key question he starts each session with and she thought it was right up my alley.
It was. Here’s how it goes, “What would you like to have accomplished by the end of this session?” In an advanced form (maybe after the relationship with the client is established) this can be asked as, “What will be different at the end of this session?”
Think about it. Setting the expectations that way from the start of the session removes all the need for exploration as to what the issues are. In fact, it removes the need for negative reinforcement typical in therapy that requires the parties to complain about each other. (ok, it’s not required, but that’s what happens). It starts the session off on an optimistic note and allows for positive potential outcomes to be imagined.
When mentoring or coaching an employee, using this type of questioning at the outset can expedite the process by beginning with the end in mind. What are you hoping tot get out of this relationship/meeting? The onus is now on the employee to make the most of the session by providing a well thought out answer. It may even be best to send the question to the employee prior to the session so they know what to expect and are not thrown off.
In meeting settings this type of questioning can lay the ground work for a mutually beneficial outcome. Parties have the opportunity to share what’s important to them prior to getting down to work.
I think one of the most important implications this question has is that it pushes for a results orientation. Once hopes have been established it is up to the parties involved to make it happen.
This is a copy of an email I sent to my executive team a few weeks ago. The goal was to help them better understand a majority of our workforce and what makes them tick.
- Millenials don’t see themselves as needing money in a traditional sense. For many; food, rent and basic necessities are not as important as the opportunity to focus on personal goals. They are willing to live at home or crash with friends to pursue dreams. Money is a sign of progression, but not an end all.
- Manifestation: Will leave a job for not getting the raise they wanted, and potentially even take a lower paying job, on principle. May go back to school if education is what interests them.
- Have many friends who are successful in non-traditional ways (start ups), therefore do not see a need to follow a traditional career path. Many of their friend’s will not start careers until they are in their 30’s. Are likely to make a complete pivot career-wise if they feel that personal success will come through a different avenue.
- Manifestation: Unpredictable behavior in terms of thinking about their careers. See requests as “need to haves”.
- Expect rapid career advancement, this is non-negotiable. In elementary schools today, children advance levels within a grade multiple times a year (a 4th grade student is expected to advance 4-5 reading levels within the year). Our current interns were in 4thgrade when Undertone started.
- Manifestation: Will leave for a title change even if it means less money. Expect career change or advancement at least every 2 years. Expect to be at the executive level by early 30’s.
- Expect recognition for each success, not just the end result (remember, they are part of the “everyone’s a winner generation”). Need to hear praise weekly if not daily. Lesser failures are also considered successes in their eyes.
- Manifestation: Performance reviews or bonuses paid bi-annually are not enough, they need to see/feel something much more regularly. Will leave or performance will drop if they don’t feel recognition.
- Their respect is earned and lost easily. They are not easily impressed by others and value their own opinions as much as the opinion of someone with many more years of experience.
- Manifestation: Don’t assume that they accept what you say just because of who you are. They will accept if they believe. Sincerity and empathy often outweigh facts. They expect to be listened to and responded to immediately. They hear “I’ll get back to you soon” as “I’ll get back to you within the hour”.
- Are comfortable with failure. They grew up in a generation where failure was acceptable. Have a high level of comfort with risk.
- Manifestation: Never want to be told they did not do a good job, but are ok with being told they can do better. Want the bar set high, but want their efforts to be recognized even if they do not achieve the top level.
- Are incredibly dedicated to things they believe in. Emotional connection is a critical part of working for or staying with a company or manager.
- Manifestation: Always want to know about strategy and direction so that they can decide whether or not they are on board. Being “on board” is a key motivational factor.
- Expect communication in real time, particularly when it affects them personally. And everything affects them personally.
- Manifestation: Will always complain about lack of communication. This will continue until executive communication flows in a twitteresque fashion. It doesn’t have to, that’s just the expectation.
- Are overly socially aware. Are constantly looking at others and comparing themselves to others. Very little is kept private between millennial’s.
- Manifestation: Will ask for career advancement or compensation based on the fact that someone else got it. Know everyone else’s compensation information. Follow each other’s careers and decisions on LinkedIn and Facebook.