“So, they ran the last manager off in three months?”
“Yes,” replied Julia.
“How do you think you broke through?”
“Well, the story about the previous manager was all pretense. Ralph was posturing to see how I would react.”
“I could have responded the same way, but I didn’t. Instead, I asked him questions about the way things were being done. Fact-based questions allow the ice to be broken. Then I moved from facts to purpose.” Julia’s plan was emerging.
“How did you do that?” I asked.
“First, I asked him about their most significant achievement, as a team. Everybody likes to brag so he told me about a particularly difficult project that had gone very well.” Julia stopped. “And then, I asked him why that was important. The level of the conversation had moved from pretense to purpose. And I had moved it in only four questions.”
“And I still have a long way to go, but it’s a start.”