Effective conversations need to be organized so that people can move through them in a logical way. One technique is the GROW model. You can use this tool to manage virtually any kind of conversation. For people familiar with the Socratic inquiry, the GROW model is a way to remember each step along the path. Use this tool to train leaders and managers to facilitate effective conversations.
Teaching people the G.R.O.W. model helps them feel more confident and comfortable in managing effective conversations. Using this model, people can tackle complex issues more effectively because the discussion is organized in a way that everyone understands.
The G.R.O.W. model assumes that a logical sequence to a discussion is better than having people speak randomly.
The “G” in G.R.O.W. stands for “goal.” The first thing in a difficult conversation is to establish the goal of the discussion – and its connection to a larger goal for the organization. Maybe it’s to deal with a problem employee or decide whether to discontinue a product line. For example, let’s assume the goal is to deal with a problem employee. As you talk about the goal, it becomes clear that the real goal is to get the employee to make changes to a membership database. Talking first about the goal ensures people are oriented toward the same goal.
The “R” stands for “reality.” The second thing people need to talk about is the current reality. What’s going on? How did we get here? What do we know? What don’t we know? Using the example, the reality may be that people can’t easily update member data, records are inaccurate, and the database can’t import data from other sources.
The “O” stands for “options.” This is the part that people typically jump to before they talked about the goal and the reality! What could we do? Hire a contractor? Change our management approach? Establish priorities for what gets fixed first? Scrap the existing platform? Here’s where people need to engage in creative brainstorming and share their ideas.
Finally, the “W” in G.R.O.W. stands for “will” – as in what will we do and when? This is the time to decide on the next step. It can be the toughest part of the discussion since people need to commit to action. If the decision is being made consultatively, one person can decide. If by consensus, it can take several rounds of asking each person what they would like to do. But ultimately, people are likely to come to an agreement, if only because they’re exhausted! Perhaps the decision is to hire a contractor to assess the quality of the database application. That’s the next step.
Teaching people the G.R.O.W. model helps them feel more confident and comfortable in managing effective conversations. And that’s a key part of managing decisions well.