​​​​Get Started with Straight Talk

Would our security projects get stuck if we used Straight Talk?

While we might recognize the need to work with other people, it’s a bit more challenging to connect in a way that gets right down to the point. Our problems are complex. People are busy, distracted, and stressed. The pace keeps increasing, we’re asked to do more with less, and the cycle continues.

We’re doing the best we can. But that effort often results in frustration.

Because friction creeps in…

We often cite the need for people, process, and technology to solve problems and reach our goals. Often unnoticed, the greatest sources of friction come from people, process, and technology. Hard to detect, friction continues to build.

… and causes us to get stuck

As the friction builds, our projects slowly grind to a halt. Value erodes, trust is destroyed, and we burn out. The consequence of friction makes everything more complex and more expensive. It takes longer and a lot more effort to restart stalled projects. Eventually, friction impacts all of your efforts.

Straight Talk is the antidote to friction

Straight Talk strips cuts through the noise to focus on what matters. Straight Talk gives us a way to bring people together to overcome friction, make better decisions faster, and get results that unlock value quicker.

Straight Talk works because it meets a basic need

We have an innate need for our voice to be heard. That means both finding an audience that actually pays attention to what we say and making sure what we share resonates. When we speak, we want others to pay attention.

“If they had only asked me first… ”

Ever try to offer your experience only to be ignored? Then they go ahead anyway, and just like you predicted, it didn’t work. If only they had asked. Or listened. Feelings get hurt, friction continues to build, and frustration sets in. People burn out and shut down.

Straight Talk gives people a voice

Straight Talk is how we bring people together and give them a voice. In turn, it also gives us a way to listen better, developing a more complete picture. In the process, we’re able to isolate problems, distill to value, and focus on what matters. It’s a powerful combination to exercise our voices while participating in a process that creates value for everyone.

But friction is powerful, and it impacts us across the layers

Instead of thinking about levels in an organization, consider layers. It starts with each of us as individuals. Teams, both primary and project, are made up of individuals. Organizations are collections of teams.

Fundamentally, friction is caused when what makes us unique as individuals is perceived as conflicting with our need to come together as a team or organization. Turns out we never really learned how to blend our value together toward a greater good. That friction spreads and impacts the team, other teams, and eventually the organization.

Of course, once the organizational friction sets in, everything else is impacted.

That’s why most approaches to combat friction don’t work

Friction impacts us across all three layers at the same time. Most of our efforts try to handle a single layer… and end up failing. When we focus on the individual level, we run into two basic problems: it doesn’t work with the rest of the organization or it conflicts with what another individual learned. Efforts to work with the team seem good, but often fail to address the needs of the individual and soon create more friction, not less. Blanket organizational efforts start with a bang, but then create friction that derails the whole program.

If you want results, you need to combat friction across the layers

That means our solutions need to work for individuals, teams, and organizations. And it has to be open, transparent, and consistent. The approach to combat friction needs to have three basic elements.

Why It takes three things to combat friction across the layers

Start by embracing the fact that our uniqueness is not in conflict with our need to come together and work as a team. The key is finding a way to guide how we come together. We need a way to share and amplify our value in a consistent, transparent, and repeatable way that advances the team.

“It all sounds great, but that won’t work for me”

Even well-intentioned processes designed to produce a consistent output tend to mirror how a specific person or group does things. Which means it creates friction for everyone else. On paper, the concept works. In practice, you just get more friction.

You need 3 things to overcome the friction

  • Structure to define outcomes, essential elements, and connections

  • System that guides individuals to the right outcome, makes sense of the overall experience, and identifies growth opportunities

  • Support across the layers to diagnose where efforts get stuck, define the best next steps, and boost results by elevating and accelerating people on the journey

It takes Straight Talk to get unstuck (you know what Straight Talk is, right?)

Straight Talk is a direct, plain, and honest manner of communicating. Straight Talk chooses simple over complex. It honors your audience by translating your insight into their experience. Cut through the noise and get right down to the brass tacks with what people need to act. Straight Talk leads to better decisions faster with results that unlock value quicker.

But real straight talk is more than communication

Straight Talk gives people a voice. It creates experiences that bring people together, focused on what matters. It is marked by a desire to reach the right outcomes instead of proving a point. Real Straight Talk is a mindset, a skill set, and an experience.

  • Mindset: the realization that the right questions are more powerful than correct answers. Using the system to clarify focus, prioritize effort, and execute the best next step.

  • Skill set: the actions and manner in which you offer and get Straight Talk to earn the results you deserve. It is an acquired skill. And it gets better with practice.

  • Experience: choosing process over cut and paste. Embracing the experience to get Straight Talk. And offering the Straight Talk experience people crave.

This means anyone can learn Straight Talk and overcome friction to get unstuck

You aren’t born a straight talker. By using the right structure, system, and support, you can learn what it takes to give and get Straight Talk. Get unstuck and avoid getting stuck again.

  • Straight Talk Framework: structure that defines elements, interactions, and outcomes based on answering 5 questions, considering 3 perspectives, and working through 3 rounds. Covenants and constraints: tailor the framework and systems to the situation and conditions

  • Straight Talk Systems: methods, tools, training, and support to guide individuals, teams, and organizations to the right outcomes, make sense of their experience, and identify areas for development

  • Support for Straight Talk through workshops, coaching, and advisory programs designed to speed the adoption and boost results

Best of all, the Straight Talk Framework is free

The structure to overcome friction is defined in the Straight Talk Framework. It’s the open, transparent, and consistent defined outcomes, elements, and connections. And while our focus is on security projects, you’ll find the Straight Talk Framework is universal. It even works with your family!

Most importantly, it works across the layers. It helps individuals get the results they need. Teams (of individuals) can use it to improve performance and get projects unstuck. The more people in the organization that embrace Straight Talk, the less friction you experience.

The Straight Talk Framework defines:

  • 5 questions to define outcomes

  • 3 perspectives to give people a voice and get a more complete picture

  • 3 rounds to capture, distill, and dialogue on essential information of value

It also includes a series of covenants and constraints to help adapt to different situations.

I’m in the process of updating the Straight Talk Framework to better explain the outcomes, elements, and connections. Once updated, it’ll be available for review and download here.

Sign up for my newsletter to be notified when the updated version of the framework is released.

You’re giving the Straight Talk Framework away for free? What’s the catch?

No catch. It’s free. No sense creating friction by holding it back. I’ve never understood the merit of telling people you created a framework and then hiding it or making them pay for it. If you have the right experience, the framework makes sense. If not, you’ll benefit from a system and support to bring it all together.

By making it available I do a few things:

  • I remove the mystery and let you check it out. I want you to realize how simple and powerful it is.

  • You can try it out if you want to. Just know that it’s deceptive in how easy it looks… until you sit down and really try to answer the questions.

  • If you use it with another part of the organization, they have access to the same open, transparent, and repeatable structure. It’s a key aspect to overcome friction.

While I’ve tried to explain the framework is only part of what you need, this isn’t a gimmick. Just wanted to make sure I offered a bit of Straight Talk that knowing the information doesn’t necessarily lead to the mindset, skill, or experience you need to get unstuck.

The reality is Straight Talk takes work

Getting to Straight Talk is a process. Often iterative. It means trying it out and making mistakes. Making mistakes is easy. Isolating the challenge and resolving it properly takes a bit more effort. Often, I see people confuse outcomes with outputs. Instead of embracing the process to get to the right answer, a common first experience results in a literal response that misses the point.

With that in mind, try it out. A lot of people find the framework helps them organize their own experiences. While not the complete solution, it’s a boost in the right direction. Less friction overall is good for everyone!

When you’re ready for more, I’ve got what you need

In addition to the framework, I develop the systems and provide support to teach people how to harness the power of Straight Talk. If you’re security project is stuck, let’s talk about your situation and how to get you unstuck.

If you’re the founder of a funded startup and stuck making the jump to the next level - let’s talk about how I work with startups.

PS: A lot of people ask if I use Straight Talk

You bet I do. Long considered a Straight Talker, I use the structure and systems daily. That’s generally how I discover the need for updates and improvements. We use it with the whole family. In fact, it’s not uncommon for me to suggest to someone they just “straight talk it.” That’s the power of pairing systems and support with the structure.

Straight Talk is how we overcome friction, get results that unlock value quicker, and develop the leaders and communicators we need for future success.

I can talk about this all day. If you have a question, reach out.

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