Passion Sundays

How To Have Tough Conversations at Work Without Ruining Anything

Leadership specialist Karin Hurt says it’s all about communication and we shouldn’t hide issues at work.

Do you excessively sugarcoat work-related issues? Postponing giving unpleasant news will only make matters worse for company’s future.
Things don’t always go smoothly in an organization. Karin Hurt is a leadership expert who talks about ‘owning the ugly’ and discussing the issues before they escalate.
She says people should encourage dialog at all levels of the business. The team members should analyze the problematic areas and what they might be underestimate.
Karin developed the ‘INSPIRE’ method of communication to help organizations and leaders – Initiating, Noticing, Supporting, Probing, Inviting, Reviewing and Enforcing.
When individuals follow these steps in a conversation, they can discuss the pressing matters promptly and come up with solutions together without destroying connections or the workplace.
Karin emphasizes that everyone should talk about the things happening in the organization. She points out the importance of having ‘real conversations productively in a way that focuses on results while also maintaining the relationships.’
Do you want to stop being afraid to give feedback? Get confident and remember to share it with your friends and spread the passion.

Live Passionately

Moustafa Hamwi
Passionpreneur & Chief Energy Officer 
Award Winning Author & Speaker


Moustafa: Hello everyone and welcome back to Passion Sundays – the best way to end a week and start another! Our guest today is a leadership expert with a twist. She helps leaders ditch the diaper drama – Karin. Thank you very much for being with us today!
Karin: Thanks so much for having me!
Moustafa: It’s exciting. What an interesting topic – ditching the diaper drama. Tell me a bit more.
Karin: Well, we really believe that to have breakthrough results, to have real conversations that you need to have at work, you need to ditch the diaper drama. So this is, if you’re not familiar with it, this is what they call in the United States a diaper genie. You have a sticky diaper, you put it in, you crank it in and the plastic wraps all around it and it doesn’t stink anymore. Great for parents and babies. Terrible at work. And yet so many companies we go into have these metaphorical diaper genies. People have bad news. They are afraid to tell their boss. So they hide it and they sandwich it and they make it not seem so bad and then they take it to the boss and the boss goes: ‘Oh, no big deal’. And doesn’t worry about it. Or the boss says ‘I’ve got this problem and this problem, and this problem’. He puts it all into the diaper genie, gives it a crank, gives it up to his boss, doesn’t want to overwhelm the boss so it doesn’t feel that bad. And it goes in the other direction too, right? Executives say ‘Uh, we don’t want to scare the front line so they put toppoints together and Powerpoints and they have a communication about what’s going on in the organization. It doesn’t seem that bad and the employees don’t really know what they should be working on to get the results or to serve the customers.
Moustafa: I love that. And how do you help organizations and leaders ditch that diaper drama?
Karin: So we have a method. We call it the ‘INSPIRE’ method of communication. It’s a way to prepare for and have the real conversations in 3 minutes or less. And so it starts with ‘I initiate’ so you initiate the conversation. Then you Notice. You notice a behavior, you can’t notice an attitude. And then you provide Supporting evidence. That’s the ‘S’. ‘P’ – Probe. You ask people strategic questions that get the employee reflect on their own behavior. And after you probe, you ‘I’ – invite. You invite the employee to come up with solutions. ‘R’ – you review what they’ve come up with as a solution. And then ‘E’ – you Enforce. Let’s say ‘Let’s meet next week and see how to behavior is going’.
Moustafa: I like that. So it’s a fairly structured approach.
Karin: Yeah.
Moustafa: But it seems that it’s all about communication.
Karin: All about communication.
Moustafa: It’s all about communication. Just listening, agreeing, saying ‘there’s nothing wrong here, what’s happening it’s happening and let’s just move on’
Karin: Yeah, we speak about owning the ugly, the things that are happening in the organization. What are we underestimating? What are we doing that’s got to go? Where are we losing or where are we missing assets? Encouraging that kind of dialog at every level of the business.
Moustafa: And from your experience, when you’ve worked with leaders and organizations or employees that are being grown to be leaders, what is the biggest weakness or challenge that everyone is having in that area?
Karin: It’s so interesting. In organizations all over the world we find people saying ‘I’m afraid to give real feedback because I want to be liked or I want to make somebody feel good.’ What happens is they are delaying the important conversations and therefore the ineffectiveness has time to breed. In session planning we work with high potential managers to have the real conversations productively in a way that focuses on results while also maintaining the relationships.
Moustafa: I love that. Here is a clear distinctive question: What differentiates a leader from a truly passionate leader?
Karin: To me it’s when they are truly connected to why they are doing what they’re doing. They feel good about serving the customer or the mission and they are able to take that passion and to break it out and execute in a meaningful way.  
Moustafa: I love that. So connecting with that deeper reasoning and making things happen.
Karin: Yeah, yeah.
Moustafa: Beautiful. Karen, thank you very much for being here with us today! This has been awesome and let’s ditch the…
Karin: Ditch the diaper drama, alright! Thank you so much!
Moustafa and Karin: Passion!
Moustafa: What do you think? I hope you found this interview as useful and as exciting as I did. If so, please leave your comments on the blog below and do share it with somebody who will find it useful. And if you’d like more tools, tips, techniques and exclusive interviews that I only share on my website – go to Until next episode – live passionately!

Share this post

Download 2 FREE chapters
from my book
Design a life truly worth living. Take the first step below.

Hi, I’m Moustafa

Dubai’s real-life “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari.” On a one-way ticket to India, I’ve gone from meeting a Swami out of 13 years in caves, to natural healing from a disease to become the Passionpreneur. I’m an international speaker and coach helping people find and pursue passion.

You May Also Be Interested In…

Download 2 FREE chapters
from my book
Design a life truly worth living. Take the first step below.

Coming soon on

Please check back later to see when this book will be available.

Coming soon on

Please check back later to see when this book will be available.