“Hey, can you have that report for me by Friday?” It sounds like such a simple “ask”, and yet that request triggers a series of complex conversations necessary for people or teams to work together. And, when not done well, could cost businesses billions in lost productivity worldwide every year and your own results.

Conversations are required for everything we do from creating a new product innovation to ordering our coffee from our favorite coffee shop. And while there are different types of conversations, the one we use the most in the world today is what we call the conversation for action. We can do it well and have great results, or do it poorly and have poor results.

Working as part of a team for most of us is a given in today’s workplace. Even in the age of the “gig” economy where we may be a contractor and not an employee, people have to coordinate and cooperate to achieve a satisfactory outcome for their customer. The skill we need in coordination is the conversation.

Having a conversation for action is a skill that we must embody as a skill and not just learn in our head. It is a purposeful and a clear set of actions that when done well can orchestrate powerful outcomes for our customers, our communities, and for ourselves. When we see that it’s missing, and it often is, it allows us to generate more effective actions.

In generative leadership, there are four primary stages of coordination in the conversation for action that produce the outcomes we desire. They are:

1. Preparation 2. Negotiation 3. Execution 4. Evaluation

Missing or a misstep in any one of these stages of coordinating action typically leads to increased costs in the form of time, money, or worse trust.

In our next post, we’ll focus on the first stage of the Conversation for Action, “Preparation”, and show you how and when ineffective preparation leads to lost productivity and some things you can do about it.

Read the next post on the Conversation for Action >