How to Have Difficult Conversations in Higher Education

4 Tutorial Videos by Patrick Sanaghan

Just getting smart people in a room is not enough to build a powerful team.

Is your team reaching its full potential?

In higher education’s merit-based culture that prizes individual effort, rarely is attention given to building a powerful team. In this complimentary series of four video speed-tutorials by Patrick Sanaghan (President, The Sanaghan Group), learn about the characteristics of an effective team. The tutorials are one to two minutes each and perfect for reviewing during a coffee break, whether alone or with your team.

When you witness members of a high-performing team being transparent with each other, asking for help, dealing with conflict effectively, and listening carefully to each other, it is something you never forget. We need more of this type of team on our campuses if we are to deal effectively with the complex challenges facing higher education.

For years, Google conducted extensive research to uncover and document the characteristics of an effective team, via a research study called Project Aristotle. The project studied hundreds of teams, searching for shared behaviors. Their findings inform these video tutorials. What they discovered was that high-performing teams—whether in higher education or other sectors—demonstrate similar best practices, including:

  • Assessing your team members’ strengths
    What insights would you gain if you had your team members take an assessment test?
  • Establishing ground rules
    Has your team explicitly set expectations for team interactions?
  • Clarifying how decisions will be made and by whom
    Is your team clear on who has input and who has influence—and for which decisions?
  • Managing conflict
    Does your team view conflict as something to be avoided—or as a learning opportunity?

We hope you will enjoy Patrick Sanaghan’s speed tutorials, and explore some of our related resources on this topic: