Monday Kickstarter October 5, 2020

Oct 05, 2020
Turn stressful interactions and challenges into conversations worth having in our free Monday Kickstarter events.

Monday Kickstarters is a working session designed for everyone on the call to figure out how to have conversations worth having when faced with a tough situation or problem. The process is based upon the book, Conversations Worth Having. The way it works:

  1. Anyone with an issue, challenge, or negative situation types it in the chat box.
  2. We choose one issue at a time; the person who posted the issue is in the “driver’s seat.”
  3. Everyone on the call offers the flip: the positive opposite of the issue.  The “driver” chooses the flip that most reflects what they see as the positive opposite.
  4. Everyone on the call then offers a suggestion for a positive frame: the desired outcome if the flip were true. The “driver” chooses the frame that best fits their desired outcome.
  5. Then everyone offers generative questions, posting them to a whiteboard. These are questions to engage stakeholders in a conversation that will move them towards the desired outcome.

You can listen live on the Conversations Worth Having YouTube Channel.

Here are the topics brought forward by our guests, the positive frame (desired outcome) for the conversation, and generative questions that were developed on Monday, October 5, 2020.


Name it:  My work partner blamed me for not respecting her and using power plays.

Flip it:

  • Choice: My work partner felt respected and thought we were working collaboratively.

Insight: When creating a positive frame, keep in mind the person or group with whom you are having the conversation. If it’s a personal situation, like this one, make the focus of the conversation personal. The choice made for the frame suggests this conversation is about healing and moving towards a collaborative, equitable relationship where each person feels respected.

Frame it:

  • My work partner and I are able to have collaborative dialogue that improves our partnership.
  • My work partner and I are able to have productive conflict to move us to high performance.

    • Note: A slight tweak could make this a powerful frame. For example, dialogue around conflict move my work partner and I to higher and higher levels of performance.

  • Healthy relationships and satisfying teamwork.

    • Note: This is could be a great focus for a team conversation. For example, if women were complaining to the manager that men weren’t respecting them and used power plays. In this instance, however, it’s a specific relationship. Could modify this to be: my work partner and I have a healthy relationship and we’re satisfied with our teamwork.

  • I have a clearer understanding of my work partner’s needs.

    • Note: This might generate a more transactional conversation and transactional relationship.

  • How do you best work through conflict?

    • Note: This a question rather than a positive frame. It’s also a question that would foster a more theoretical conversation instead of a conversation grounded in their experience and their hopes for the future.

  • Choice: My work partner and I know what it looks like when we work collaboratively so we feel heard and respected.

Insight: This is one of those times where we might want to foster two conversations: we might want an initial conversation with a healing frame and then move to the second frame. For example:

  1. A healing conversation. My work partner feels heard and I understand how my actions affected her. In which case, your questions might be:

    • I am so sorry that was your experience. Will you share more about how my action affected you?

    • What ways did I behave or act that contributed to your experience?

    • What would have felt more respectful or equitable in that moment?

  2. A Moving Forward conversation. My work partner and I know what it looks like when we work collaboratively so we each feel heard and respected.

Generative Questions:

  • How might we explore our mutual work-related goals?

  • What does the prefect collaboration look like for us?


Name it: Parent conferences are negative with lots of finger pointing due to virtual learning, changing policies, and parents/students feeling overwhelmed.

Flip it:

  • Parent conferences are going great!
  • Parents and schools are working collaboratively
  • Choice: Parent conferences are positive.

Frame it:

  • Conferences allow for collaborative work space.
  • Parent conferences are mutually satisfying.
  • Parent conferences are collaborative and supportive.
  • Parent conferences are positive and parents/students do not feel overwhelmed.
  • Mutually supportive parents-teachers conversations at the conferences.
  • Parent conferences are positive and we share positive affirmations with each other about this new challenging time.
  • Conferences are positive and engaged by both parties.
  • Parents appreciate the school’s effort.
  • Parent conferences reveal strong school-home partnerships.
  • Parent conferences are an opportunity for the teacher and parents/guardians to share observations of learning and set goals for the future.
  • Our shared goal is to support our students moving forward, can we focus on what is working…
  • Choice: Parent conferences are mutually supportive conversations about student performance.

Insight: The Choice is the one that identifies a common and shared goal that both teachers and parents want, namely student performance. If this is emphasized, it offers a clue about how to focus questions so they engage parents and teachers in feedforward rather than blame and shame.

Generative Questions:

Insight: This is another time where jumping in to focus on student performance before healing can be detrimental. Everyone is challenged and no one wants students to suffer because of the things happening in the world they have no control over.  That might be the place to begin and then focus on the student outcomes. For example:

  • This has been an extremely challenging time for all of us, not just in the school setting but with all that is going on in the world.

    • How are you and your family coping?

    • How are your children doing?

    • What has been most challenging when it comes to virtual learning?

    • What has been most challenging for your children?

  • As I’m sure you can imagine, we are overwhelmed and doing the best we can to learn and use new technology and software — building the plane while we are flying. Sometimes things don’t work the way we’d hoped; sometimes they’re better than if we’d been in the classroom.

    • What’s working well for your child?

    • When is it most difficult for them?

    • How might we work together to create opportunities to support the specific learning needs for your child?

    • What ideas do you have for what we can do to be more effective?

  • We all want every child to be successful. How might we work together to make that happen?

  • What would parents like to see from the school as support in the virtual learning environment?


Name it: My organization is preparing for a software deployment (work space digitization). The past experiences with this kind of change are very negative. People are afraid and resistant.

Flip it:

  • The experience is positive and people are excited.
  • People are excitedly anticipating the new software solution.
  • People are excited and willing to get the software installed.

Note: Keep the frame focused on the original issue in your awareness as you create a frame. In this particular case, is this conversation one to have a the senior/leadership level first about whole system engagement in the change process? A learning culture?

Frame it:

  • A successful implementation of the new software.

  • A more collaborative work environment is created.

    • Note: Hard to see how a conversation about a collaborative work environment will directly impact the fear and resistance. It is likely an outcome, but the focus could pull the conversation into other areas of collaboration–maybe even ones where people already excel.

  • The new software creates a positive work environment.

  • We have buy-in from all and software deployment is successful.

  • We’re more effective and efficient and loving continuous change.

  • Successful implementation of the new software.

  • A more productive and collaborative work environment while utilizing the new software program.

  • Our new software will make collaboration easy, and installing it will be easy.

  • People are able to accept change now and in the future.

  • Streamlined processes and champions/power users can train others to learn new shortcuts.

  • Choice: We have full buy-in and we are co-creating our new environment, loving continuous change.

Generative Questions:

  • What will full buy-in look like in our team?


Bring your own challenging situation! To view past Monday Kickstarter sessions, please visit our  Conversations Worth Having YouTube Channel. Monday Kickstarter September 14 2020.

To learn more about fostering conversations worth having, visit the website and download your conversation toolkit, read or listen to Conversations Worth Having: Using Appreciative Inquiry to Fuel Productive and Meaningful Engagement, and sign up for a Conversation Bootcamp.


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