Issues Clearing

Note: Special thanks to friends and colleagues from my YPO experience for this model - especially Kevin McHugh and Kaley Warner-Klemp.

Why consider "issues clearing" with someone?

  • If you want to restore or maintain a good open, honest, trusting connection and relationship with another person
  • If you feel unsure, unsafe, uncomfortable with that person and want it to change
  • You just want to say something clearly and specifically so the person really knows how you feel – INCLUDES positive affirmations, and appreciation!

It’s important to remember that “clearing” is not about resolution or fixing an issue. It’s about helping to insure that each party is as clear as possible about the position of the other.

Use this worksheet to help collect and organize your thoughts prior to using the model with someone. 

Issues Clearing Worksheet

Remember to be brief, the person must be able to repeat what you say; distinguish between feelings and judgments; and be clear about what you want.  You are Party A, the other person is Party B.

MY FACTS, MY STORY – Offer a brief summary of the situation/events/data/perceptions surrounding the issue.  Usually Who, What, When, Where, etc.  Data/Perception of facts only.

LET PARTY “B” REPEAT

MY FEELINGS – Use words that describe emotions.  “I feel you don’t understand” is a statement of judgment, not a feeling.  “I feel frustrated and angry (Feelings) because I don’t think you understand (Judgment) is better.

LET PARTY “B” REPEAT

MY JUDGMENTS – List the thoughts, opinions, conclusions, perceptions, causes, etc. of the situation.  It’s what you think.  Avoid starting the Judgment part of your dialogue with the words “I feel”.

LET PARTY “B” REPEAT

MY PART IN THIS – Look at your disconnect/communication issue with Party B.  What have you done or not done, said or not said that has contributed to the situation?  What do you own?

LET PARTY “B” REPEAT

MY REQUEST – What do I want/need?  State what it is you really want from this person.  It is OK to want nothing more than to “clear” the issue and to be heard, but usually there is more.  Look for it.

LET PARTY “B” REPEAT – Then move to close…

Party B asks A:  Is there more?  If “yes”, A does the next issue.  When it is “no”, ask, “Have you cleared all your issues?  Then it’s B’s turn. 

Several possibilities:  Agree, comment, apologize, etc.  Engage informally.  If emotion is strong and heated, reverse the model and clear your issues with A formally.  B may shut down and refuse further engagement.  Remember that resolution is not required at this moment.