Escalation Part II: Harnessing Your Event Team Superpower

Post authored by Jeff Fugate, SVP Sales and Marketing

In my previous post on escalation,  I shared my thoughts about how escalation, when deployed properly, can be an extremely effective method to improve  communications – within teams, with clients and across an entire organization.

I also shared more about the Radical Candor (RadCan) model, one that we’ve adopted at Experient. RadCan, coupled with smart escalation, can make a world of difference in resolving conflicts quickly and ultimately, nurturing high-performing teams.

Now for the hard part.

Like most things that don’t come as part of the standard operating package, like a beating heart, we need to learn to how use this superpower. Going back to Spider-Man, he didn’t just wake up and know how to shoot webs. He had to practice and learn.

Bridging the Gap Between Knowing and Doing

I’ve facilitated a lot of sales training in my career and one of the things we talk about is the gap between knowing and doing.  Most sales people know they have an opportunity to improve and they ask for more sales training.  However, when it comes time to digging in and applying what they’ve learned to doing, I’ve found the 80/20 rule applies in that one in five put in the work necessary to move from knowing to doing

This same dynamic is at play with escalation. We know the steps we need to take, but the actual doing part? That’s when things can get tricky, especially in situations where emotions run high and past exchanges have been difficult.

We know the steps we need to take, but the actual doing part? That’s when things can get tricky, especially in situations where emotions run high and past exchanges have been difficult. Click To Tweet

Conceptually, there’s nothing that’s intellectually challenging about the RadCan model. It’s not rocket science.  In fact, it’s quite simple, which is what makes it brilliant.  However, just because we might understand something conceptually, it doesn’t mean that we can do it. That level of mastery only comes with repeated practice – an essential bridge to advance from knowing to doing.

To illustrate this, I’d like to share a personal story…

About ten years ago, I had this crazy idea to start a pie competition at Thanksgiving.   It was crazy, because I had never even attempted to make a pie before then.  The “Pie Off” has turned into a thing, so much so, that I now make three pies the Sunday before Thanksgiving and recruit 16 people in our Frederick office for feedback in determining which pie I submit for the Pie Off (you can submit only one).

In addition to the feedback collected at the office, I also get the chance to practice making a pie I’ve never made before. For me, there’s always great learning that comes from that. When you look at a pie recipe, there’s nothing about it that’s complex, however for most that have made pies, you know that the more you do it, the easier it gets. And as things gets easier, your confidence grows.

Again, the same applies to escalation and RadCan.  The more you do it, the easier it gets and with each iteration, your confidence and mastery grows.

The more you do it, the easier it gets and with each iteration, your confidence and mastery grows. Click To Tweet

By the way, for those who watch the HBO series Silicon Valley, RadCan was part of the story line of the third episode of the current season (season 5).  Watch this episode to learn how NOT to use RadCan.

Perfecting Your Superpower

Like any new skill, you must practice at it to achieve mastery. For superpowers like escalation, it may take several rounds before you feel comfortable and confident.

Like any new skill, you must practice at it to achieve mastery. For superpowers like escalation, it may take several rounds before you feel comfortable and confident. Click To Tweet

But one last bit of advice from one of my favorite military slogans: “No plan survives contact with the enemy.”

All the practice in the world may not prepare you for what you might actually face. But just like making pies, or playing golf, or any other skill where there’s a large gap between knowing and doing, you must put in the work.

Are you ready?

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