What is Success?

what-is-successHistorian, Sarah Lewis asks the question – what is success? Lewis, through her close work with world acclaimed artists, came to the profound realisation that success is just a moment of recognition, something that goes just as quickly as it comes. What we are really seeking is creativity and mastery. Therefore, the question is not what is success but what gets us to convert success into mastery? The answer, Lewis argues, only becomes clear when we start to value the gift of the near win.

The gift of the near win can be more valuable than success

To understand the gift of the near win, Lewis observed a group of varsity archers. She wanted to witness something called archer’s paradox. The idea that in order to actually hit your target, you aim at something slightly skew from it. She watched as the archers, tenaciously trained for three hours. Perfectly aligning their bodies in order to pursue an excellence in the face of obscurity. Success is hitting the target, but mastery is knowing that it means nothing if you can’t do it again and again.

We thrive through a series of near lineage wins, explains Lewis. Mastery is not a commitment to a goal, but to a constant pursuit and our near wins gives us the strength to keep on chasing. In Navajo culture, some craftsmen and women would place a “spirit line” in their textiles. This is a deliberate flaw in the pattern to give the maker a way out, but also a reason to continue making work. “Masters are not experts because they take a subject at its conceptual end. They’re masters because they realise there isn’t one”.

The near win is inbuilt to mastery

Michelangelo famously stated “Lord, grant that I desire more that I can accomplish”. The near win is inbuilt to mastery, Lewis goes on, because the one thing that increases with our knowledge is how little we really know. Coming close to what you thought you wanted can help you attain more than you ever dreamed you could. Read more about Sarah Lewis here

Written by Leila Mezoughi on behalf of PCA Law

Images curtesy of Kwang Wellness on Youtube, the image has not been amended


Personal impact; how to make meaningful connections

Sergiu Bacioiu Strobist: Camera Right: Nikon SB-800

Whilst it is certainly a personal impact platitude, it is no less a fundamental truth: you are always having an impact.  Wherever you are and whatever you do, this personal impact will always be eliciting an impression.  Critical questions follow from this: are you conscious of this impact?  Is this the impact you intended?  Is your impact aiding or, in fact, impeding upon your desired outcomes?

The truth

A further, albiet more subtle truth, is that personal impact is actually inter-personal in nature – it occurs in our relationships with others. The ability for people to connect, face-to-face with others, in a comfortable, confident and impactful way is a skill that sets people apart in both personal and business relationships.  As we retreat further and deeper behind a multitude of screens and virtual-one-step-removed communications, those who can skilfully harness the power of making the right personal impact are an increasingly rare and invaluable commodity, standing out from the crowd more than ever before.

The personal impact knowledge gap

Starting from a scientific background in school I transitioned to read law at Cambridge and then moved onto a magic circle law firm, yet at none of these stages, pedagogical or professional, was I offered tuition or training in communications.  The ability to communicate with power, persuasion and potency was either assumed or considered unnecessary; both of which positions are patently absurd.  It was only when I furthered my interest in acting by taking a 6 month ‘acting for screen’ course each weekend during my training contract, that I realised, notwithstanding all of my highly regarded tutelage, a key competency was starkly absent from my skillset.  I had no framework upon which to base my communications and no conscious awareness of how my communications were translating in practice.  I certainly hadn’t had exposure to a professional resource that could help me communicate with greater and more compelling impact.  Having worked as a communications trainer with all levels, from law school students to partners, I was relieved to discover that this lacuna in learning wasn’t just a personal failing on my part but is actually quite common-place.  The good news for us all is that this gap is pre-eminently possible to correct for, it doesn’t require you to take on someone else’s personality and moreover small focussed changes can lead to impressive results.

One word; authenticity

Every successful actor strives for three fundamental components as they work: to be relaxed, to be present and to be authentic. Of course, all an actor is trying to do is reveal the life of another human being and connect this person in a meaningful way to the audience.  Therefore, I feel the goal of the actor aligns with the goal of anyone trying to communicate effectively;  if one can relate to others authentically and from a place of presence they are well on the way to communicating their message with powerful personal impact.

Through the in-house training programme with PCA, communication and impact courses elsewhere and through the continued development of my craft as an actor (particularly using ‘the Method’) I have seen how simple ideas can be applied to equip individuals with a powerful tool-kit to maximise the effectiveness and impact of their communications.

Everyone is different and striving for different outcomes, but working with each individual it is possible to use techniques and strategies to give everyone the ability to have the impact they desire.

Guest blog written by PCA’s Legal Experiential Practitioner, Richard Kirschke

Image curtesey of Sergiu Bacioiu on flickr Sergiu Bacioiu – flickr the image has not been amended.

Partner performance to be one of the biggest challenges facing firms this year

Partner performance to be one of the biggest challenges facing firms this year

Making partner, is a dream shared by many young, ambitious solicitors. However, research revealed by Smith & Williamson’s, 2016, Professional Practices survey, found that in reality the career climb is becoming a nightmare. 63% of those in senior management positions report having little, to no support, in their new role. 36% of respondents felt the help from their firm was effective, while 44% were left to prepare for their new role, themselves. The remaining 20% reported their firm’s assistance was of limited effectiveness.

These statistics place a huge strain on newly appointed leadership figures. Law firm professional development director and lawyer Marian Lee, in her book Partnership: It’s Not Just Lawyering Anymore, acknowledges that promotion to a senior management role is not a decision to reward you for previous work but instead, a leap of faith based on what the firm thinks you can contribute in the future. This means, Lee continues, newly appointed partners in management positions “remain relatively vulnerable until they fulfil their perceived potential.

The duties required of individuals in senior management roles, differ, somewhat significantly, to the responsibilities held by junior lawyers. Arguably, law firms should provide training for newly appointed leaders so they do not feel ill-prepared or lost, when they are expected to be the face of the firm. However, Smith & Williamson noted, “This year’s survey suggests a worrying lack of preparation and support for senior leadership roles within firms. Only a quarter of managing partners have a mentor or coach in their roles.”  The survey forecasts “partner performance” to be one of the biggest challenges facing the legal profession, this year.

In light of these statistics firms should focus on what they can do to support newly appointed managing partners. Firms such as A&O and Ashurst provide short courses for newly appointed managing partners. Other successful initiatives involve bespoke training with a focus on particular areas to suit the firm and the individual. If firms are looking for a more thorough induction, one-to-one training with external coaches, allows individuals to work on key leadership skills, in a discrete environment, where any concerns or fears over an upcoming role can be voiced.

A mindset to change your life path

A mindset to change your life path

A mindset is a set of assumptions held by individuals that creates a powerful incentive to continue, adopt, or accept prior behavior.

Phycologist, Carol Dweck’s, research on the significant relationship between mindset and ability, took the academic, sports and business worlds by storm. A mindset is a set of assumptions held by individuals that creates a powerful incentive to continue, adopt, or accept prior behavior. Dweck found two distinct mindsets that individuals typically exhibit when perceiving their own ability; the fixed mindset and the growth mindset. The growth mindset is the understanding that you can always improve upon your abilities through practice and exertion. A fixed mindset however, denotes that successful abilities are innate and inflexible and that you are either born talented or not talented.

Which mindset are you? How you view your failure can determine which mindset you hold in relation to your abilities. When you have a fixed mindset, failure defines your limits, your capabilities and who you are as an individual. In comparison, the growth mindset views failure as a lesson. The core tenant of the growth mindset is that failure is used for self improvement and does not create a barrier to perfecting abilities.

Case studies

In a 2004 case study Dweck, Mangels, & Good investigated whether a fixed or growth mindset could influence academic ability. Here, students were asked to perform complex tasks whilst fitted with an electrode cap to record the parts of the brain that reflect attentional processes. After each task the students were told whether their answer was right or wrong. The research found that students with a fixed mindset paid attention to only whether their answer was right. If wrong, they had little interest in learning what the right answer actually was. Being right outweighed their desire to learn. In contrast, those with a growth mindset wanted to assimilate both types of answers; whether it was right or wrong. Subsequently, in a follow up exam, the students identified with a growth mindset did significantly better than those with the fixed mindset.

The results of this study can also be seen in the business world. Successful business leaders typically possess a growth mindset. Rather than trying to prove they are better than others and work out success benchmarks and boundaries, they focus on internal improvement. Dweck states “leaders with a fixed mindset believe that some people are superior and others are inferior and their companies are a reflection of their own superiority.” These leaders will not be open to collaboration because they prefer dictating and only need helpers to implement their ideas. Business leaders who have a growth mindset, are more likely to encourage similar mindsets amongst their employees, inspiring innovation, hard work, and productivity.

Dweck explains that her research into the growth mindset does not seek to undermine the importance of “talent”, especially in the sports world but instead seeks to show that the growth mindset is of equal importance when measuring success. Sports phycologist Richard Cox found, that athletes who believed success was attributed to practice and hard work, and not exclusively natural talent, had more overall success in the next athletic season. Cox further found, that the highest performing participants believed their coaches also understood success was attributed to practice and hard work, not exclusively natural talent.

Are you ready to change?

Dweck’s research positively disrupts the idea that natural talent supersedes hard work, practice and self belief. The growth mindset can be a powerful tool for those willing to embrace it, it can change the course of your life and push you out of your comfort zone to achieve things you thought unachievable. For business leaders, the above studies identify that the growth mindset is contagious in organisations. The employers that can cultivate a growth mindset workforce and embrace failure when it occurs will find increased innovation, creativity and cohesion in their work environment.

Read more from Carol Dweck here http://mindsetonline.com

The power of listening

If we were supposed to talk more than we listen, we would have two tongues and one ear.” Mark Twain.

Quite simply, listening, is twice as importance as talking. However, we receive virtually no training in good listening. Many of us believe we are listening but in reality we are just waiting for our turn to respond. Really “hearing” is not a passive activity. How many times have you responded to a speaker with “yes but”. I know I have. This common response, undermines everything the speaker has just said. It can cause people to clam up and not be open in their discussions with you. Professionally, if employees feel too uncomfortable to ask for clarification on delegated tasks, it will kill productivity. Socially, you can isolate yourself from people as you will never reach that deeper level of understanding. Something that happens when two people really open up to each other and share stories. “Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force” writes Brenda Ueland in her essay On The Fine Art of Listening. The people who “really listen to us are the ones we move toward, and want to sit in their radius as though it did us good.”.

So, instead of responding with “yes, but”, try and replace it with a follow up question. Let people finish what they are saying and don’t interrupt if that is your inclination. Genuinely, listen to the speaker. These simple skills can go a long way in building strong rapports with those around you. We shouldn’t just be mindful of our verbal responses. Whilst exact percentages are difficult to achieve, research suggests, above 90% of what we communicate is non-verbal. This means we are also communicating with our eye contact, physical movements and body posture. Body language that expresses you are not engaged with the speaker is fidgeting, lack of eye contact, positioning your body away and tightly crossing your arms and legs. By simply keeping good eye contact and inclining your posture towards the speaker you can invite and encourage expression. When people believe they are truly being listened to solutions and understandings, that were previously unforeseeable, can be found.

Listening is a powerful tool. Not only can we use it to connect with those around us, but we can educate ourselves. We learn, from each others life experiences, knowledge that cannot be read or taught. From the wise words of Dalai Lama “When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know; but when you listen you may learn something new”.

Your body language can shape your interview outcome

Body language shapes how others see us but does it also change how we feel about ourselves? Social psychologist, Amy Cuddy, explains in her landmark research, how standing in a confident, powerful manner, even when we don’t feel confident, can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain and can have a direct impact on our chances of success.

What is powerful body language?

In humans and all animal species, postures that are expansive, open and take up space are associated with high power and dominance. Postures that contract, with limbs crossed protecting vital organs and take up minimal space are associated with low power. For example, animals that are prey will make themselves as small as possible.

Amy Cuddy showing the typical "power pose" used in her research

Amy Cuddy showing the typical “power pose” used in her research

The science

The impetus for Cuddy’s research came from a breakthrough in primatology.  In primates, powerful postures also correlate with testosterone and cortisol levels. Expansive, high-power postures produce, in both sexes, high testosterone, a hormone that creates feelings of dominance and power, and low levels of cortisol a hormone that produces stress. Interestingly, this endocrine profile is also associated with disease resistance as high cortisol and low testosterone makes you very susceptible to illness.

The breakthrough

Until recently, primatologists, believed that the dominant creatures in their groups had inherited high-power neuroendocrine profiles. However, it was found that those hormone levels change when you take on the dominant role. Primates that were forced to take on the dominant role, due to death of the previous leader, saw their testosterone and cortisol levels change, in just a few days. Likewise, primates that were pushed to the bottom also had drastic differences in their neuroendocrine profiles.

The study

A study carried out by Cuddy, Dana R. Carney and Andy J. Yap measured the hormone levels of 42 male and female research subjects. These subjects were then asked to stand in two high-power or low-power poses for a minute per pose and had their hormone levels re-measured 17 minutes later. They also offered subjects a chance to gamble, rolling dice to double a $2 stake. The results were significant. A mere two minutes in high- or low-power poses caused testosterone to rise and cortisol to decrease and visa versa. Those in high-power stances were also more likely to gamble, enacting a trait (risk taking) associated with dominant individuals. Importantly they also reported feeling more powerful.

This same study was then carried out again but after low or high power posing the subjects were asked to sit a mock job interview. The candidates that had enacted the powerful poses were selected as the most competent candidates.

What does it mean for you and your job interview?

Humans perceive competence in others when they see confidence or power. The candidates that were asked to stand in powerful poses reported feeling more powerful themselves. This powerful feeling was communicated to recruiters, who then deemed these people as the most competent for the role.

Cuddy advises doing two minutes of “power posing” before a job interview as it directly increases your chance of being selected. No matter how silly you might initially feel, results show that after you powerfully pose you will feel more confident and have a better chance of success.

It has been noted that women often tend to take up low power poses in business and social settings. Cuddy advises women to take up more space, not to wrap/twist legs up, as this stance has a direct affect on your mindset. Even if you don’t feel powerful “fake it until you make it” Cuddy advises, as you will eventually feel the powerful rush, as you are changing your neuroendocrine profiles.

You can find out more about Cuddy’s research at http://amycuddy.com/research/








CIPD Report: ‘Neuroscience In Action: Applying Insight To L&D Practice’

The CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) is an independent and not-for-profit body based in London, which describes itself as “the professional body for HR and people development.” It celebrated its centenary in 2013, and now has over 135,000 members across the globe who are “committed to championing better work and working lives.”


The diagram ‘Work, Workforce and Workplace’ is from the CIPD Neuroscience in action report. There are several links on our article page to the full CIPD Neuroscience in action: applying insight to L&D practice report. Or click here for a link to the article.

In November 2014, the CIPD published a report entitled ‘Neuroscience in Action: Applying Insight to L&D Practice.‘ This report forms part of the CIPD’s ongoing research programme exploring “how findings from behavioural science are influencing the HR and learning and development (L&D) profession.” It was written by Ruth Stuart, a research adviser at the CIPD.

To explore how neuroscience principles are being used by organisations to inform their L&D practice, the report incorporates case study research undertaken by the CIPD between June and August 2014. These case studies involved eight high-profile organisations, including BT, Fitness First and Volvo. In addition, the report provides an overview of neuroscience as a field, and advises L&D and HR practitioners on the most practical and economical ways to implement various neuroscience techniques.

The report is divided into five sections, which are bookended by an introduction and a conclusion. Section 1 explores various views on the relevance of neuroscience to L&D practitioners. It also examines the general level of awareness of and interest in neuroscience amongst the L&D profession. Section 2 discusses how the participants in the research first developed their interest in neuroscience, and also how they went about accumulating their knowledge in the field. Section 3 looks at how the research participants have incorporated neuroscience into L&D practice. In addition, it examines how various “L&D interventions” at the eight case study organisations have been informed by neuroscience findings.

Section 4 of the report outlines various “(b)enefits and challenges” of utilising neuroscience insights for L&D practice. Such benefits include “enhanced learner engagement, cost savings, reduction in turnover and improved customer perception.” A further benefit is said to be “enhanced credibility” for L&D practitioners, both individually and as a community. Section 5 follows up with “practical guidance” for L&D practitioners in implementing neuroscience insights.  In this respect, it addresses potential queries such as where to start, how much knowledge is required and which information to trust.

Following on from these five sections, Appendix 1 of the report is entitled “Five ‘no-brainers’ from neuroscience research.” It was written by Dr Paul Howard-Jones, a reader in neuroscience and education from the University of Bristol. Appendix 1 begins by talking about the plastic nature of our brains, or neuroplasticity, and how this means that learning can alter the “function, connectivity and even the structure” of our brains. It then goes on to list five ‘no-brainers’, or guidelines, for HR and L&D professionals when it comes to utilising research from the neuroscience field.

The first of these “no-brainers” is that challenging questions or problems should be addressed in teams. The second no-brainer is that “regular and sufficient sleep is essential for the brain to learn efficiently. The third no-brainer is that learning sessions should be spaced out over time. The fourth no-brainer is that we should be careful and judicious in our use of technology, as it can “enhance or diminish brain function.” The fifth and final no-brainer is that physical exercise can boost both our memory and our neural learning networks.

Unsurprisingly, all of these no-brainers are highly relevant to the work that PCA undertakes. We’ll be exploring each no-brainer in a little more depth, in a follow-up blog piece that will be appearing soon.

Why Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word

In 2010, Canadian researchers Karina Schumann and Michael Ross, published the results of their study, in the journal Psychological Science, that gender stereotypers everywhere jumped on. And when I say jumped, I mean they dived, head first, from around a thousand feet up, and made a splash that Niagara falls would have been proud of. It was everywhere. Women’s magazines around the globe were in a frenzy to reference the study that finally proved what they had been saying for years – women say sorry more than men. And that was that. Proof. Argument over. End of analysis. Back to our coffee break.


But in fact, what many of them missed, and what turned out to be a far more pertinent and far more accurate reflection of real life, was that men and women actually apologised exactly the same percentage of time when they thought they had done something that warranted saying sorry (81% to be precise).

The real point was that women not only thought they had done something warranting an apology more often, but when compared to their male counterparts, they also rated the very same action as far more offensive too.

When placed in the context of other research, this becomes an even more interesting story.

Linguist Deborah Tannen noted that women use the word sorry as a ‘tip of the verbal hat’, to acknowledge something regrettable has happened – expressing understanding and concern rather than an apology. In other words, when a woman says sorry, she does not necessarily mean it is her fault, but is empathising with the other person, rather than acknowledging her own personal blame. Men on the other hand associate the word with a ‘confession’ of guilt, wrong doing and punishment.

The plot thickens even further when we throw into the mix that neuroscientists have long noted disparities between the male and female brain: Men tend to have proportionally more white matter in their heads, indicating a thick web of connections that strengthen orgnisational skills and problem solving. Women have greater connectivity between the left side of the brain, where logic and facts are mostly processed, and the right side, in charge of non linear thought like creativity and perception – this greater flow of signals between left and right may explain why women are better at connecting language and emotions.

Another piece of the jigsaw can be added by the Journal of Neuroscience’s report, that higher levels of FOXP2, the so called “language protein”, is found in the brains of women, and that at a younger age than first thought, girls relationships’ with talking and words, may well be more intrinsically motivated than that of boys.

And then let’s throw in the female desire to promote harmonious relationships and her more natural ability to recognize emotional experiences – both of which have long been established as a necessary part of the maternal design and women’s evolutionary development as nurturers and relationship builders.

The picture we’re left with is far more complex than those magazine headlines suggest. That picture is now of a female brain that may naturally like to talk more, can connect words and emotion more easily, prioritises other people’s feelings more instinctively, is more naturally concerned with building relationships, sees the word sorry as a means of showing empathy, thinks it has done something ‘sorryful’ more often and has a higher threshold of events which it deems apologising would be appropriate for.

But so what? And who cares in the frenetic pace of a twenty-four hour office, where time waits for no man. And no woman either for that matter. Let them read their magazine articles and be done with it. All this science mumbo jumbo and squidgy ‘soft skills’ talk of empathy, makes no difference in the real world right?

Well no. That’s not quite right.

As it turns out, this stereotyped wafer thin understanding that each gender has about the other’s perceived obsession with the word sorry, or complete inability to use it, causes serious upset. And major misunderstanding. And therefore, rather large amounts of conflict. And none of that is good for your office. Your organisation’s productivity levels. Or your figures. Let’s not forget your figures ( and I mean of the currency nature, rather than your BMI).

The point is that both genders have something to learn from the other when it comes to their use of the word ‘sorry’. And if both genders understood the science behind it, understood the other gender’s starting position, realised the very different approaches and meaning that the other attached, then they could start to narrow the chasm that often seems to exist.

Men could perhaps realise that his female client is just looking for some understanding, some form of acknowledgment about how she must be feeling, rather than assuming she is after an admission of guilt, signed, sealed and delivered with personal blame and appropriate punishment. And he might realise that she is looking to build a good working relationship with him by doing this and that it will only help him to build that ever elusive rapport, rather than damaging his much prized and over rated ego.

And women could perhaps stop for a second before reacting and understand that her male colleague is not refusing to say sorry because he doesn’t care about her, or that he is a heartless Neanderthal, who has no desire to work with her on equal terms in a team. But instead she could start to realise that he may not know that there is anything to apologise for, or that he is concerned that she thinks it is all his fault, which he does not believe it is, or that in fact perhaps it is not something that he feels warrants a ‘sorry’ at all. And whisper it quietly, but he may even be right. On just this one occasion, of course (and especially when we consider Dr Tyler Okimoto’s research into the negative impact saying sorry can have on your self esteem!)

It all comes back to that old chestnut  – empathy. Men need to put themselves in a woman’s position and vice versa. But to do this, they need to understand the basic brain design, emotional connections and gender specific motivations, which may be kicking around that office canteen. We all need to be told that those sweeping gender generalisations are only telling a fraction of the story. A potentially very damaging fraction at that. And that underneath it all, there is some good old fashioned natural biological design going on. Which, after all, is the most basic commonality that all men and women share. Even in Canada.

Only with this knowledge can we hope to start using the word sorry more often, less frequently, but always together.

How to Conduct Critical Conversations:: The PCA PREDICT™ Model: Part 3


The first article in our three-part series discussed how challenging and critical conversations can be enormously damaging to your future relationships if they go wrong. We also introduced our PREDICT™ model as a structured and systematic framework that will enable you to prepare for and then successfully conduct such conversations. The first article in the series can be viewed at this link THE PCA PREDICT™ MODEL: PART 1

In the second article of the series, we summarised and discussed the importance of each of the seven stages of the PCA PREDICT™ model. The second article can be viewed at this link THE PCA PREDICT™ MODEL: PART 2

In this, the third and final article of the series, we’ll be discussing nuance and variation within the PCA PREDICT™ model. We’ll also be following up this series with some blogs that will more fully explore each individual stage of the model.

PCA Predict ModelWithin the PCA PREDICT™ model, we appreciate that there will be nuance and variation, depending on the context you’re applying it to. So it’s important that we reflect this nuance and variation within it, given that a model is only as good as its ability to be applied in practice. In this respect, you’ll notice that there are a couple of extra dimensions that we’ve added.

Firstly, there is a dotted line between Rehearse and Engage. This reflects the fact that often, in reality, these types of challenging and critical conversation may not be something you anticipate or activate. For example, it may be that somebody else starts such a conversation with you, often unannounced, and you’re now having to be immediately reactive. In this case, the process will start below the line, and the very first thing you’ll be able to do is Engage.

Secondly, there are rotation arrows between Deliver and Investigate. These are indicative of the fact that different contexts may require you to Investigate before you Deliver, and vice versa. A serious client complaint for example, may need you to ask a plethora of questions to fully understand their position, before you’re in any position to launch into your message delivery.

And lastly, it’s important to recognise that different applications will require a greater or lesser emphasis on any of these seven stages. At PCA Law, we use this model to help clients navigate through any number of conversation-based challenges. And when we do, we’re clear that their focus will be defined by the demands of the particular context and audience that they’re dealing with.

So, now that you have a top-line understanding of what the PCA PREDICT™ model looks like, please keep an eye out for our future blogs on each of its individual stages. These will help build your confidence to start using this model, in order to transform the way that you conduct all definitive and essential day-to-day conversations.

How to Conduct Critical Conversations:: The PCA PREDICT™ Model: Part 2


In the first article of this three-part series, we discussed how challenging and critical conversations can have a hugely damaging impact on your future relationships if they go wrong. We then outlined the PCA PREDICT™ model as a structured and systematic framework that allows you to prepare for and then successfully conduct such conversations. The first article in the series can be viewed at this link: THE PCA PREDICT™ MODEL: PART 1

In this article, the second of the series, we’ll provide a headline summary explanation of each of the seven stages of the PCA PREDICT™ model. We’ll be discussing nuance and variation within the model in the third and final article of this series. Finally, we’ll follow up this series with some short but more in-depth blogs about each individual stage of the model.

PCA Predict ModelP is for Plan:

Intuitively, we all think we realise that this is often the stage we need to work on the most. Despite this, it’s often the stage that escapes us completely. For this reason, in our blog about Planning, we’ll give you firstly a specific set of questions to answer and secondly focused content for you to prepare, before you enter into any critical conversation.

R is for Rehearse:

This stage may be something that you don’t usually feel is important. However, just as you would hope that a sportsperson or musician would practise before any big performance, it’s vital that you find a way of integrating the rehearsal stage into your pre conversation process. We’ll give you some areas to focus on for this stage of the model, so that it feels more achievable in practice.

E is for Engage:

The first few moments of the conversation could have a definitive impact on what follows. Accordingly, in the Engage blog, we’ll suggest a few key skills that you need to employ fully and ‘switch on’ right from the outset.

D is for Deliver:

Of course, we all think we know what the message is that we’re intending to convey. However, more often than not, this doesn’t quite translate into practice the way we had hoped it would. In the Deliver blog, we’ll give you some clear tools to make sure that the message you intend to deliver is the message that is received.

I is for Investigate:

Questioning and data collection is absolutely vital if we’re going to reach a win:win, mutually beneficial conclusion. However, this is not something that we intuitively do when faced with challenging people or difficult situations. At this stage, we focus on how to make sure you’re both asking the right questions and listening in the right way.

C is for Collaborate:

Ideally, you’re going to find that win:win outcome and get crucial buy-in from the other person, which will help to establish a long-term, mutually profitable relationship with them. However, when you’re looking to achieve all of this, there’s only so far that hitting them with a big stick, or dangling an equally large carrot, can go. In the Collaborate blog, we’ll show you why and how collaboration is your best friend when it comes to critical conversations.

T is for Translate:

There’s no point in carrying out stages 1-6 to perfection, if you then fail to translate any of it into future action. At the final stage of the process, we’ll give you some clear tools that will enable you to turn all of your good work into some tangible results.


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