The Value of Unstructured Conversation: #MondayMOVE

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The Monday MOVE Idea

Each Monday until the launch of my upcoming book MOVE, I’ll be sharing an important idea from the book.

This week: The Value of Unstructured Conversation: Don’t trade a comfortable moment for a slow moving train wreck

Structured vs. Unstructured Conversation

I have found in business a great unwillingness among leaders to simply talk to people in an unstructured way. Leaders seem to want to say, “Here’s the situation, I need you to do this.” Their expectation is that the person will say, “OK, will do”, and come back with a programmatic response about getting it done.

While that highly structured way of communicating sounds very efficient and kind of OK, it avoids any real conversation about what you are trying to accomplish. And many leaders seem to prefer it that way.

The reason unstructured conversation is uncomfortable is because instead of the safe, sterile, structured, “I want a plan”…“Here is a my plan” type of communication, you open yourself to a conversation that might get messy.

But the risk of avoiding unstructured conversation is that you will never know what people really think, and they will never truly engage without the opportunity to speak their mind.

“What do you really think?”

If you ask someone in an unstructured way to tell you what they really think or feel about your strategy, they might tell you what they really think or feel! And it might not be in perfect alignment with what you are wanting. It might feel like you are wasting time, or even going backwards for a while.

You’d rather say, “just do it!” But please realize that you can’t go forward decisively without this messy step.

Genuine Alignment

This type of unstructured conversation is the magic that unlocks a team’s ability to truly align and move forward. Authentic conversation gives everyone a chance to tune their own belief system to be ready to do what the business needs. You can’t put someone on the path of your strategy, they have to find their own way there.

Think really seriously about this.

If you avoid the unstructured conversation because you don’t want to hear something out of alignment, your only other choice is to go forward with the serious risk of actually being out of alignment and not knowing about it!


I’m really excited to share all the tools I put in my upcoming book MOVE to help you get your team to execute your strategy or implement your key initiatives more decisively — Including ideas to build sponsorship along with building your own confidence and courage.

MOVE will be available in February, but you can download a free preview now.
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About Patty
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Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)

You can find Patty at, follow her on twitter or facebook

You can find Patty at, follow her on twitter or Facebook, or read her books RISE and MOVE.

Leading Business Transformation
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