Heads Up

Many thanks to all the messages since last week about the mistakes we make with tricky conversations. It’s me again, Phil McMillan from Heads Up, with some more thoughts and tips on how to handle those difficult conversations that are needed to drive improvement.

One response from last week’s question about common mistakes that caught my eye was ‘I don’t think they understood what I was saying’.

That resonates! I’ve often been in that situation, where perhaps I haven’t clearly communicated my point properly.

Most of the time when I ask myself why that is so, it’s because I have not been clear in my own mind about what the issue actually is beforehand.

And that can mean the resulting conversation often makes things worse rather than better. It’s unfair on the other person who is left guessing, or even guessing incorrectly, what the issue is.

If I’m not clear about the issue, how can I expect the other person to be? Clarity is king.

For example, do you want a member of your SLT to improve their planning meetings? If you were to just say that to them, how can they be expected to understand what you mean by improve?

You must know, otherwise, why would you say it? So think specifically; perhaps the issue is about that person leading the planning meetings more effectively. Then clearer feedback could be to ask for improvement in the quality and timeliness of their plans and supporting others to improve their planning. See how much clearer that is?

I’d love to hear more examples from you about clarity, so here is my question this week:

What do you struggle with when trying to communicate your point clearly?

Hit reply, let me know and we’ll do our best to help!

Until next time, have a great week and think about how you can communicate more clearly. I’ll be giving some feedback to my wife Sonia on this issue. When she says to me: ‘What are you like?!’ – I could do with some more clarity about what she means! 😉

Best wishes,


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