SUMMARY - How to Work with (Almost) Anyone - Michael Bungay Stanier

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Here are a few suggestions for maintenance questions to strengthen your best possible working relationship:

  • What's one thing I've done recently that you've appreciated or has been helpful? Asking this provides positive feedback and reinforces effective behaviors.

  • How could we communicate better? Is there anything I say or do that ever confuses or frustrates you? This invites open discussion about improving communication.

  • What do you think is going really well in our working relationship lately? Identifying mutual bright spots.

  • How can I better support you and your work? Directly asking how you can help shows care and concern.

  • What does great collaboration look like to you? Uncovering preferences and values around teamwork.

  • How have I positively surprised you? And is there an area you feel I could still improve in? Requests feedback on strengths and growth areas.

  • If you could change one thing about our working dynamic, what would it be and why? Surfacing desires for improvement.

The key is asking thoughtful questions that reinforce the positives while also uncovering opportunities to enhance collaboration and mutual understanding.

Here are the key points summarizing how to tame your Advice Monster and make hard changes:

  • Recognize the dysfunctional pattern and be curious about why you engage in it. What payoff does the Advice Monster provide?

  • Identify your deeper goals and values. What does your ideal Future You look like? How do your habitual behaviors misalign with that vision?

  • Have compassion for yourself. Change is hard. Don't beat yourself up when you slip into old patterns.

  • Get support. Ask trusted friends and mentors to help reinforce positive changes.

  • Interrupt the pattern. When you catch yourself advice giving, stop and reframe.

  • Create friction. Make the dysfunctional habit harder to do through reminders, accountability, incentives.

  • Build new habits. Focus on listening, asking questions, being present. Celebrate small wins.

  • Adjust your environment. Reduce exposure to triggers that activate the Advice Monster.

  • Keep going. Regression is part of the process. Don't get discouraged. Stay focused on Future You.

The key is being patient, persistent, and compassionate with yourself. Hard change takes time but sticking with it transforms not just behaviors but your entire operating system.

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