A Way To Address Issues – especially when you may be wrong!

“This has changed my world” – a strong statement from a friend of mine in Michigan. Now what was he talking about?

Years ago, I was taught a simple approach to addressing issues we see in the people we lead without generating unhealthy conflict. It is especially helpful if there is a possibility of being wrong – which occurs much more frequently than most of us care to admit.

Again, it is not my invention at all, but unfortunately, I do not remember where I learned it from. So – here is the approach I was taught.

O – I – C

Simple right! What it means is:

Observe – Interpret – Clarify

When you need to address something with someone, you start off saying to the individual that you have observed a certain, behavior or action or attitude, and that this is the way you interpret that behavior. You then ask the person for clarification so that you may better understand what has happened.

This approach directly addresses an issue, but in a manner that most often does not initiate the “flight or fight” feeling in the person. It informs them of how you saw, or interpreted, their behavior (which is often a surprise to them) and then they have a chance to explain (clarify) why it occurred. So often I have learned that I had misinterpreted their intent and it was not really a problem of attitude, but one of execution and they were not aware of the unintended impact on others. I have also found, numerous times, that I was the issue, that I had misinterpreted what they had done.

So try it sometime and see how it works for you:

O – observe

I – interpret

C – clarify

Hope this is a help to you!

BG