difficult conversations - deborah hulme

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Difficult Conversations APM Conference, September 2016

Deborah Hulme & Sarah Christie-Rundle

The art of conversation and negotiationLearning





Understanding our brain


Bring to life some of the basics around the brain - two operating systems of the brain and why it is important to understand at a basic level how they work

Explain PFC/Rest

Cubic meter/milky way. Fickle nature of rational most of time we dont use itRuns like a battery/natural breaking system Impact of stress more tired we are the more we cannot inhibit behaviours. Takes away our entire ability to think.

Articulate why it is important to understand this from a leadership point of view

Understanding the causes of prefrontal function and dysfunction allows us to use what we have in the best way possible.Leaders have a big role to play creating the right environment and managing teams to deliver best performance. This is where emotional culture takes center stage. If we dont understand the origins of our behaviours and how easy it is create a downward negative spiral it is almost impossible to engage and motive those around us.


Cognitive strength

Between stimulus and response there is a space.

In that space is our power to choose our response (Victor Frankle)Mindful practiceEmotional regulation Body position and breathingFocused attentionAvoid habitual responsesAvoid deceptive brain messages

Threat and rewardRewardIncreased cognitive resourcesMore creativeSolve more problemsCome up with more ideas per actionHave a wider perceptual viewMore resilientEnhanced collaborationThreatReduced memoryNarrower visionPoor attentionMind wanderingFearSadnessAnxietyDepression


To provide an easy to remember structure (based on neuroscience and scientifically underpinned) that can be kept in mind when collaborating or communicating with colleagues.

To demonstrate that whilst there is a lot of information available that can be confusing there are also models being developed to help us manage the incoming data and apply what we are learning in practice.

They are simple and easy to remember and can be applied on a one-to-one, team, function or organisational basis.

Briefly articulate the importance of threat/reward and why it is so important to understand from a leadership perspective


SCARF model of social threats and rewards


Threat ResponseTOWARD

Reward ResponseAdapted from Rock, 2008


To explain that neuroscience is showing that there are 6 domains (environmental factors) that all people keep track of, in a similar way to tracking food and water

TRACES is a useful tool for assessing where an individual, team or function is positioned along the threat/reward spectrum when looking at planning, communicating or running a change programme. Briefly outline the 6 domains and why relevant and important.


Great conversation and negotiationESSENTIAL BASICS

Undertake rigorous preparation Identify core interestsWeigh up the various optionsAssess different parties & choicesUnderstand marketplace & numbersDevelop a Plan B Consider using a third party if needed

ESSENTIAL VALUE ADDEmotionally prepare selfFocus attentionUnderstand body (hot buttons & sensations)Calm limbic responseDevelop cognitive control Scan for emotional responses Remember emotions are contagious Use frameworks (SCARF) to stay mindfulKeep breathing

Any questions?


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