Communicate Like a STAR

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The STAR method is commonly associated with behavioural interviews, but it can also be adapted for decision-making and building confidence in various situations. It can also be a useful approach once practiced when responding to challenging requests or concerns from team members, other leaders or franchisees.

STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. Here’s how you can apply it to decision-making and building confidence.

Situation

Define the Context: Clearly outline the situation or problem. This could be a decision you need to make or a scenario where you need to build confidence.

Example: “I was faced with the decision of whether to take on a new project that would significantly increase my workload.”


Task

Identify the Objective: Clearly state what you need to achieve or what your goal is in the given situation.

Example: “My task was to assess the potential benefits and challenges of taking on the new project and make a decision that aligns with my career goals.”


Action

Describe Your Actions: Outline the steps you took to address the situation or achieve the task. This is where you demonstrate your decision-making process or how you worked to build confidence.

Example: “I researched the project requirements, evaluated my current workload, and considered the potential impact on my work-life balance. I also sought advice from colleagues who had faced similar situations. Based on this information, I created a list of pros and cons and evaluated the potential long-term benefits of taking on the project.”


Result

Highlight the Outcome: Describe the outcome of your actions. This could be the decision you made and its consequences, or it could be the impact of your efforts to build confidence.

Example: “Ultimately, I decided to take on the project because I saw it as an opportunity for professional growth. The result was challenging initially, but it led to acquiring new skills and visibility within the organization. I also learned to manage my time more efficiently, and in the end, it positively impacted my confidence in handling challenging tasks.”


Whilst this is a simple example, the ability to succinctly use the STAR method in decision-making and communication with others builds confidence, and ensures you have a structured approach. It will also emphasize your ability to analyze situations, take appropriate actions, achieve positive outcomes and be a powerful tool in conveying your thought process in various professional and personal scenarios.

Actions, not words, create STARs.

The most common challenge with this structure however, is that you (or a candidate) may not be a STAR, at least not yet. The STAR method can also be used to succinctly scenario plan likely outcomes based on your actions.

Situational Context

Imagine you’re a project manager faced with a critical decision: whether to adopt a new project management software for your team. The potential benefits are increased efficiency, but there’s also the challenge of a learning curve and potential resistance from the team.

Task

Your objective is to make an informed decision that balances the potential benefits of the new software with the challenges it might pose.

Missing Action

Scenario 1: Inaction

Example: Faced with the decision, you hesitated and did not take any proactive steps to evaluate the software or communicate with the team. The decision-making process stalled, leading to uncertainty and a lack of progress.

Scenario 2: Uninformed Decision

Example: You quickly decided to adopt the new software without thoroughly researching its features or consulting with your team. As a result, the implementation process faced unexpected hurdles, and team members were unprepared for the changes, causing disruptions in workflow.

Scenario 3: Overreliance on Others

Example: Instead of taking ownership of the decision, you delegated the entire process to a subordinate without providing guidance or oversight. This led to misunderstandings and miscommunication within the team, as your team member lacked the context to make an informed decision.

Result

Scenario 1: Stagnation

Outcome: The lack of action resulted in a stagnant work environment. Team members were unsure about the direction, and the potential benefits of the new software remained untapped.

Scenario 2: Implementation Challenges

Outcome: Rushing into the decision without proper action led to challenges during the implementation phase. Team morale suffered, and productivity decreased due to the unprepared shift to the new software.

Scenario 3: Communication Breakdown

Outcome: Delegating the decision-making process without providing guidance resulted in miscommunication and confusion. The team faced difficulties adapting to the changes, leading to a breakdown in collaboration.

Lessons Learned

In these examples, the missing or inadequate actions resulted in negative outcomes. In contrast, a well-considered and proactive approach, as demonstrated in the “Action” step of the STAR method, could have led to a smoother decision-making process, better implementation, and positive results for both the project and team dynamics. 

The importance of taking thoughtful and deliberate thoughts and then actions is highlighted in each of these scenarios.

Discover more from BDC Performance here.

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