Symptoms & Systems: A conversation with Penny Tompkins & James Lawley

Symptoms & Systems: A conversation with Penny Tompkins & James Lawley

This last weekend I had a chance to have a conversation with Penny Tompkins and James Lawley on their upcoming workshop – Symptoms & Systems: A Clean Approach – happening January 11-13, 2019 here in California.

The following is our conversation broken into three segments.

Segment 1 is about how working with symptoms and working with systems is more similar than we might suspect on first blush.

Segment 2 is musings about metaphor and the power they pack.

Segment 3 is our reasons we think learning live, face-to-face, eye-ball to eye-ball is the stickiest way to learn Clean (or any hands on skill).

As well as the video and audio provided on this post … We would like to invite you to join us for a Q&A call via Zoom meeting on October 20, 2018 – Yes, that is this coming Saturday!

You can register here for Ask Us Anything October 20, 2018

If you have a bit of Clean under your belt or have been wondering about working with metaphors with individuals or even groups, join us for this 60 minute ‘Clean Party’ where you can ask us anything about Clean Convergence 2019, the workshops that are on offer, and even any questions you have about Clean Language full stop.

Now … on to the conversation:

Segment 1 – It’s Not Two Things (7.5 minutes)

In this seven and a half minute segment, Penny and James talk about the workshop they are offering in California, January 2019 – Symptoms & Systems: A Clean Approach.

Now don’t worry. It’s not all just dry information about the workshop. It’s really quite a deep conversation about clean language, working in metaphor, and how this kind of thinking and questioning can help you in your work and life. 

So enjoy segment one and then head on down the page for segment 2

Register here for Ask Us Anything October 20, 2018:
https://zoom.us/meeting/register/4ed7fb6ec5837e37dc2040ba88984b7b

Or check out Clean Convergence 2019 here: http://cleanlanguagetraining.com/clean-convergence-2019-sharon-small/

Segment 2 – Musing on Metaphor  (10.5 minutes)

This segment is about ten and a half minutes. James and Penny go quite deeply into working with metaphor and the difference that makes for people and organizations.

So enjoy the next ten and a half minutes and we’ll see you soon for Segment three.

Register here for Ask Us Anything October 20, 2018:
https://zoom.us/meeting/register/4ed7fb6ec5837e37dc2040ba88984b7b

Or check out Clean Convergence 2019 here: http://cleanlanguagetraining.com/clean-convergence-2019-sharon-small/

Segment 3 – Like a Dog on a Bone  (5.5 minutes)

This short segment is about learning life and why one would want to travel halfway across the world to learn face-to-face, cheek-to-cheek and eyeball-to-eyeball with real live trainers not just in clean language, but in any skill you’re learning.

Register Here for Ask Us Anything October 20, 2018:
https://zoom.us/meeting/register/4ed7fb6ec5837e37dc2040ba88984b7b

Or check out Clean Convergence 2019 here: http://cleanlanguagetraining.com/clean-convergence-2019-sharon-small/

The Janus Position

The Janus Position

It isn’t just for interviewing.

I just taught a one day Clean Language Interviewing intensive at the HPRCT (Human Performance, Root Cause, and Trending) conference in San Antonio, Texas on the 22nd of June. In this training we talk about a frame James Lawley and I call the “Janus Position”.

Janus is an ancient Roman god with multiple faces. He represents transition, doorways, duality, the beginning and the end.

The Janus position is one of multiple perspectives, including that of the interviewer. Imagine your face in the middle of this image.

Interviewer + Purpose + Interviewee = Janus position

I+P+I creates the Janus position for the interviewer

 

 

 

 

 

When interviewing, one is often responsible for multiple desired outcomes:

  • Conducting a comprehensive interview
  • Meeting the legal, ethical, and outcome requirements of their position
  • Meeting outcomes desired or made explicit by management or leadership
  • Gaining rapport and willing participation from the interviewee

Within this there is a prioritization of outcomes depending on the context and conditions of the interview.

Not all interviews are created equal. The question any interviewer must have is:

  • What is the primary purpose of this interview? Who/what is this for?

An example of this might be a qualitative interview in which the interviewer wants to know an interviewee’s experience on a roller coaster. In this interview the rapport and comfort of the interviewee becomes a primary outcome, as well as their connection to their internal state.

In a quantitative interview (for cause evaluation) the priority might be the interviewee’s working memory and the interviewer’s obligation to the cause analysis and corrective actions that are to come partly from their interview information.

A reporter’s purpose might be personal gain through story writing regardless of the outcome to the interviewee (think Paparazzi) or seeking objective facts with the purpose of informing the public of data they do not currently have access to.

The Janus position requires keeping multiple purposes in mind all at the same time. This can be complex and require an occasional review of action to purpose. It is easier to get off task than you might imagine; a juicy bit of information that catches the interviewer’s imagination and curiosity, a secondary condition that arises in an interview that needs attention, a conflict of personality or temperament that creates undue tension in the interview room, a frightened or worried interviewee. These are some of the types of interference that can arise.

Questions an interviewer might ask themselves prior to starting an interview are:

  • What is my purpose?
  • Who or what is this interview for?
  • What is the primary kind of information I am seeking?
  • How will I work with information of other types that come up in the context of this interview?
  • What is the time line for this interview?
  • Do I have the opportunity to revisit the interviewee or is this the only opportunity I have to ask questions?
  • Is there a pick-list I am required to use and where might be the best time to place these questions in the interview?
  • Who else might need a copy of the information elicited in this interview and what form are they expecting it in?

I am writing this article because recently I had need of the Janus position thinking in a personal aspect of my life. It was not an interview and did require a clear idea of purpose to make the best of a difficult situation.

My parents, now 95 and 86, were moving from a 3000 sq ft home to a 1000 sq ft apartment in an independent living complex. A very good move and excellent timing. This meant that my sister and I needed to be in Texas to help them. It meant looking at their treasures, helping them sort and choose what meant the most to them and what they would keep, items that meant a lot to them and they could not keep, and generally doing whatever was needed to make their transition easier.

Independent of that, it also meant my sister and I managing ourselves to keep our relationship in the forefront and the ‘cool stuff’ we wanted secondary.

Hmmm, you are beginning to see my purpose as I write.

  1. My parents comfort and ease of transition
  2. My parents feeling happy that their treasures were not going to end up in an estate sale
  3. Keeping my relationship with my sister intact as we sorted through and divided anything of value that was left from the move

Emotions were high, we were all quite fatigued from long days, and tolerance began to wane.

I asked myself these questions:

  • What is my purpose?
  • Who is this for?
  • When that is the purpose, how do I need to be (behavior and attitude) to meet this purpose?
  • How will I work with less than desirable behavior that might come up? (in both myself and others)
  • How do I need to be to come out of this feeling good about myself (meeting my need for congruence and primary values)?
  • Is there a pick-list? ie: what is on my list as a daughter that needs to be met within everything else that must be done and where do we place those actions/questions?
  • Who else is involved that needs to be kept in the loop?
  • What would I like to have happen? Yup, I did include my lil ol’ self as part of the larger outcome.

Each day I reminded myself who this was for: my parents. What my purpose was: to make their transition as stress-free as possible. This meant consciously determining my attitude and behavior prior to arriving at the house and during interactions with my sister and mother.

What I came to:

  • memories do not live in things
  • people over stuff
  • relationships over acquisition

It is not necessary for you to come to determinations as I have above, and you will find that keeping the thinking of a Janus position will be helpful in both your interview practices and personal/work interactions.