Category Archives: Uncategorized

Do You Assume Too Much?

1 Feb, 2017 at 1:15 pm

Do you test assumptions?  If you assume something, you may be taking for granted that it is true without checking in with the other person. How do you know if you are making an assumption? How do you know whether someone is making assumptions about you? It’s easy to clarify and confirm your assumptions with the other person but only if you first notice that one has been made. Do you infer meaning to others’ words or actions without questioning?  If you infer something you draw a conclusion about something you don’t know by drawing on knowledge of what you do know. Are you able to see that you may have assigned meaning to someone else’s communication either written or spoken, without clarifying their reasoning and intent? Part of the mindset of Vital Conversations is catching yourself applying your own thinking, experience or potential bias to the conclusions you draw from the data others give you. Are you needing to have a conversation with someone where you can see that you have made assumptions or drawn inferences? Download our  conversation planning tool, challenge your own thinking; see things for what they are by challenging your story about the situation and the person.  Get back to the core data or if you prefer the non-emotional reality of what needs to be addressed and plan for the conversation. Then embark on the conversation and lead yourself again by utilising 2nd generation mindset staying curious about possible assumptions and inferences. If during the conversation or email exchange your “assumption antennae” twitch, then there is a reason – pause – take a breath, try to step one rung down your ladder – and then ask a question.  “I’m wondering if either of us might be making assumptions here – can I check this with you?” Nigel Singer Mediator

Missing the Moon

3 Jan, 2017 at 12:41 pm

According to space expert Dave Woods, if you were to aim a rocket at the moon but your aim was 1 degree off, you would find your spacecraft missing its lunar target by 1,978 miles, a pretty big miss by anyone’s standards. It’s a similar story when you procrastinate over a key conversation: it can be a significant factor in determining the ultimate destination of a business project, relationship or key life goal.


This genre of conversation is like a fork in the road. In your heart of hearts you know what needs to be said and having the conversation is your best shot at taking the direction that’s most likely to benefit you, the employees performance or some wider goal. When you procrastinate, you run the risk of taking the other fork. A week later you’re heading down a path that feels further and further away from what’s right or useful and you’re often increasingly frustrated. Weeks or months later, you find yourself many miles from where you want to be. How did you get so far off track?


So why do we do it, why do we struggle with leading ourselves when we know we need to have these conversations? It may be that we are unsure or afraid.


  • We know there is a high degree of uncertainty in the situation. Opening a can of worms could lead to tears, silence or a more fundamental issue that’s even harder to talk about.
  • We are aware that these conversations do not always solve the issue in one hit and that you may need more time to resolve it, creating ongoing anxiety between the conversations.
  • We can have long-held beliefs that conflict and disagreement are not psychologically or physically safe.
  • We often find conversations like this overwhelming, we know we may become defensive and say things we don’t really mean and make things worse!
  • We hate the levels of anxiety these confrontations invoke and you feel emotionally drained after a conversation of this nature.

  • However, what is the cost of not having them? Do they just resolve and go away?
    Who do you need a conversation with?
    Alec Grimsley- Author of Vital Conversations