Straight Talk: Using Candor and Constructive Confrontation to Improve Results

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About the course

Candor and accountability form the basis of a productive working relationship, but many leaders mistake performance expectations for performance agreements, fail to "get real" about the victim mentality and blame games poisoning their organizations, and shy away from confronting people to hold them accountable for execution. This practical seminar develops skills for planning, leading, and following up on Candor Conversations about expectations and agreements. We tackle both the smoother, preventive discussions around clear upfront Agreements, as well as the most stressful of work discussions - Constructive Confrontations. We will provide antidotes for someone repeatedly breaking an agreement - instead of giving up, blowing up at the person, or burying the issue. Finally, we will explore two mindsets - Accountability versus Victimhood - along with how you can present this module to your back-home team to impact execution and ownership.

Time Allocation - Topics

  • 10% Business drivers and rationale for increasing candor and accountability
    • Costs of bailing out (the Price of “Nice”) or bruising (the Price of “Nasty”)
    • Personal case for “living out loud” and authentically in work conversations
    • Tracing reasons people don’t deliver and solutions in today’s skill sets
  • 25% Achieving clear, commitment-oriented performance with Agreement Discussions
    • A systematic map, model, and skills for forging actual agreements about roles and responsibilities, outputs, and mission-critical behavioral norms
    • Following up Candor-driven Agreements with Reminders and Recognition
  • 10% Stating your needs when confronting for candor and accountability
    • Tracing the required history of any Candor-driven Confrontation • A clear, foolproof message format for confronting broken commitments
  • 30% Confrontation skills for navigating through people’s predictable defensiveness
    • Understanding the true nature of defensiveness
    • How to defuse defensiveness and maintain conversational control and focus
    • Handling difficult reactions (e.g. silence, screaming, threats, mocking, or etc.)
  • 10% Gaining true versus “soft” commitments
    • Recognizing slippery “tomato seed” offers to recommit
    • Maintaining a positive relationship while rejecting unacceptable solutions
  • 15% Inviting a mindset of accountability and ownership
    • Understanding research-based results of accountability versus victimhood
    • Experiencing an attitude-shifting module you can share with your team


  • Primary -- LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT: Commitment, Developmental Perspective, Empathy, Initiative, Interpersonal Relations, Performance Standards, Persistence
  • Secondary -EXECUTING/CONTROLLING/EVALUATING: Use of Authority, Delegation, Direction, Coordination, Discipline, Meeting Schedules, Follow Up
  • Tertiary -- PLANNING/ORGANIZING: Generate and Obtain Plan Support

Trust the experts

Rick Brandon

Dr. Rick Brandon delivers keynote speeches at corporate events, educates thousands annually in workshops, and appears in various industrial and educational videos. In early 1999, Dr. Brandon launched Brandon Partners, offering a unique service for corporate events, blending his passion for motiva...


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Available dates

This course has no confirmed dates in the future. Subscribe to be notified when it is offered.