Phil Harkins argues that high-impact leaders are not determined by status, but are committed to continuous learning and making a difference. They regularly use so-called 'powerful conversations' because they "are the best, most reliable tool available for influencing others and gaining the buy-in and committed action needed to achieve real business objectives".
Powerful Conversations: How High Impact Leaders Communicate
We are urged to abandon our inhibited approach to dialogue and to acknowledge our human failings to engage and explore issues on a more meaningful and powerful level. This is best illustrated by Harkins's s own attempts to evade 'real' communication on learning of his wife's cancer.
He concludes, "When an organisation spends time building values and openly discussing what's right, what's wrong and what needs to change, great things happen."
It is ironic that such a simple profound message is impeded by a lack of clarity, jargon and long-winded definitions before its value emerges as a blueprint for communications. Ultimately it lacks inspiration and its impact quickly fades.
David Owen is a senior personnel officer for Luton Borough Council and a freelance trainer and lecturer. His current reading includes Stupid White Men by Michael Moore.