Blog Post

Bring it Up!

Published: Saturday, March 10, 2018

The skill leads to better performance.
One could suggest, among the variety of definitions of leadership, that leadership is made up of a series of conversations with peers, managers, team members, customers and other stakeholders. With advanced conversation skills those interactions lead to greater innovation, better collaboration, smarter decisions, and more committed actions. Without these skills, leadership doesn’t happen.

A deep study found that employees spend an average 2.8 hours a week dealing with conflict, which amounts to roughly $359 billion in workforce costs. Let’s talk about how you can reduce your costs, by helping your managers have compelling conversations.

In my 4 Ups! model (Bring it Up! Talk it Up! Wrap it Up! and Follow it Up!), I talk about having REAL conversations, the absence of which is one of the biggest obstacles to team performance and leadership effectiveness. When leaders struggle to address the REAL issues, REAL facts, and REAL feelings, they become an enormous liability impacting people and profit. In my blog post Say What? I share that managers, as great conversationalists, know how their personality impacts their ability to communicate well.

With personality in check, Bring it Up!


Why is starting a difficult conversation, the first of the 4 Ups, so challenging for some of your leaders? Many of your managers are very good at introducing topics into conversation at team meetings and with their employees. Even those tough or sensitive discussions seem to be easy for them to openly bring to the table in a respectful yet honest, crisp and concise way.

Some managers, however bring up topics in a blunt and perhaps abrasive way, and yet others fail to address issues all together for a variety of reasons. Several managers may have varying degrees in-between in the way they tackle conversations.

Successfully approaching uncomfortable conversations will lead to better performance, a positive impact in the team and organization as a whole. Help your leaders find the courage to start conversations in a constructive way by following these 4 Tips:

  1. Feel. Manage your own emotions, first. Before entering any conversation evaluate what you FEAR and reconcile that maybe your emotions are driven by False Expectations Appearing Real.
    • What can you do to first challenge your own emotions?
    • Rather than predicting a negative outcome, how can you approach the conversation with positivity?
  2. Think. Clarify your intent. No one likes to be confronted. Rather, most appreciate being helped. When you approach the conversation with a helpful mindset and an intent to serve, your success increases. Before the conversation, reflect on, “Why do you really need or want to have the conversation?”
  3. Act. Leverage your body. In the work of Amy Cuddy, she found that your body language shapes who you are and how others see you. Before you have the meeting, do some power poses. As you have the meeting, sit up straight, take a deep breath, and smile.
  4. Talk. Regulate your words. Use words that communicate curiosity rather than judgment. It is less helpful to approach with words like “aggressive,” or “not a team player,” and more helpful to use, “I heard you say…,” “which makes me feel/think …,” “and it impacts…,” “can we find a better way?” Write out and practice what words will best serve your intent.

Effective implementation of the 4Ups varies greatly from individual leader to individual leader. All four skills are necessary for Compelling Conversations, and it is up to your leaders to find their voice and inspire others to find theirs.

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About the Author

A savvy, street-smart leadership development consultant, Helanie Scott is CEO of Align4Profit in Dallas, Texas. Her tenacious spirit and passion for excellence make her unsurpassed as a change agent, transformation specialist, keynote speaker, and successful entrepreneur. She is energetic and straightforward with the experience and commitment to deliver. 

Helanie (pronounced yeh-LAH-nee) has driven stunning leadership and cultural transformations for an impressive list of organizations. She has mastered the ability to connect with her audiences in the boardroom, classroom, on stage, or in one-on-one coaching sessions. Helanie’s Align4Profit clients rave at the way her engaging programs freshen outdated mindsets and deliver results-oriented, aligned action. 

She has developed a number of proprietary leadership development processes, tools, and foundational approaches, including The Magnetic Power of Leadership Intimacy, the Six Attraction Powers, and a very successful CoachQuest Leader-as-Coach program. 

Leadership Excellence recently ranked Helanie and her company number 25 among Independent Consultants/Trainers/Coaches based on seven criteria, including: content, curriculum, and take-home value. 

With many successfully executed alignment assignments to her credit—in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and South Africa—Helanie has developed a riveting and enlightening presentation style. 
Backed by solid psychological research, all of her easy-to-use and profoundly effective leadership development tools can be put to work immediately. 

Her experience working and thriving in many different cultures has made her particularly adept at understanding the nuances of how leaders of all ages and from around the world can rise to the heights of extraordinary performance. She is able to capitalize on this unique point of difference by engaging those perceptions within multicultural companies as well as multicultural markets and strictly domestic organizations. 

Raised in a small, South African mining town, by the age of 21 Helanie had set out on her own in Johannesburg, learned the ropes of the big city, and purchased the business that hired her. She emigrated to Canada and then to the United States, researching and studying leadership and organizational development, and growing her Align4Profit consulting firm. 

The culmination of her life experience, years of business consulting, and colorfully diverse background manifests itself in her deeply personal Leadership Intimacy® philosophy, which serves as the foundation of her CoachQuest Leader-as-Coach training program and all of her development solutions. 

• 25+ years providing Human Capital development: South Africa, Canada, United States, and the Americas, including Puerto Rico, Panama, Costa Rica, Brazil 
• Developed and actively facilitates CoachQuest Leader-as-Coach program and train-the-trainer sessions 
• Developer and author of The Magnetic Power of Leadership Intimacy® 
• Developer of Six Attraction Powers 
• Frequent speaker at conferences and for Fortune 500 companies, with an impressive client list 

• Adult Learning Principles Certification, University Oklahoma 
• Certificated in EQ, Emotional Intelligence and Master Mentor with EQMentor 
• Certificated in DISC Behavioral Assessments, HBDI, TA, Myers Briggs, among others 
• Working knowledge of The Organizational Lifecycle, Dr. Adizes and Whole Brain Learning 
• Presentation and Media Skills, training actors and presenters for TV commercials and film 
• Serves on the Executive Education committee for Women’s Business Council Southwest 
• Helanie serves as special advisor to the board of My Possibilities charity 
• Mentor with SMU, Cox School of Business 

• Conversant in three languages: English, Afrikaans, and Fanagalo (Based on Zulu, English and Afrikaans). 
• Received pre-teacher’s certification in ballet, supporting actress in a movie, experienced the longest, fastest and tallest zip line in the world and lives with her two children in Dallas. 

Giving Back Committed to supporting organizations and activities whose primary goal is to give back to the community through the development and enhancement of peoples’ lives. My Possibilities is an organization that offers a first-of-its-kind program for adults with special needs.

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