I spent a year working with some friends on a product to help people have conversations.  It hit me as my kids grew up that having meaningful conversations actually became harder as they grew up.  I also watched grandparents have the same challenge.  Alas, like any great idea someone else came up with the same idea and put it into a nice plastic case.  Table Topics is actually a fun and effective thing to have around.  We own two.  🙂

That exercise taught me something.  Great conversations have a nice balance of past, present, and future topics.  The lens I use to view every talent management conversation is governed by a simple rule: 30-30-40.

30% Past: Performance is measured in the past.  Our learning is measured in the past.  Spending time there is important.  Celebrations happen here.  Learning happens here (especially: what did not work).  Self awareness gets generated here because fresh memories reveal where we are at our best and where we struggle.

30% Present: Today is important because in it are the unsolved problems or the worries we bring to work.  In this space are the questions like: What are your top priorities today?  What is hot?  What are you concerned or worried about?  Life happens here, and relationships are built here.  There is no guessing about the present – it is what it is.

40% Future: The biggest chuck by design.  Defining our future, dealing with worries or barriers, and asking people “How can I support you?” all happen in this space.  This is the #1 neglected piece of the 30-30-40 Conversation™ rule.  Goals get set here.  Barriers and development needs are defined proactively here.

The lens put into our glasses help us to see more clearly.  Try this lens on your next conversation around performance, team meeting, or one on one.  How do things look?

This lens is actually where the trU came from in The trU Group.  trUth and trUst happen when it is used.

Great conversations are such a gift.  Go share one.

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