Exercise – A Meeting to introduce Completed Staff Work (CSW)


A Meeting to – introduce Completed Staff Work (CSW)

Objective - On the Job

1 Have Course Members reach, or maintain, a situation with their immediate Subordinates that they give them CSW (oral and/or written) on at least 80% of the occasions when the Course Member believes they should do so.

Broad View of Exercise

2 Course Members will aim to understand CSW, its advantages and disadvantages. They should consider how they will introduce CSW into their Section.

3 For the sake of the Exercise, they should assume (a) they want to do so and (b) few, if any, of their Subordinates know about or practise CSW. They will then try out their ideas in a group role-playing situation where they take the role of themselves and the other group members assume the role of immediate Subordinates.

4 Discussion will take place at the close of the Role Playing in order to help the “Introducer” of CSW to consider effective and ineffective approaches.

etailed Sub Objectives

Planning the Presentation

5 Course Members should consider the advantages and disadvantages of CSW and decide on a plan as to how they will achieve a situation where most, if not all, of their Subordinates will produce CSW both oral and written when appropriate. The plan should include the assumptions mentioned in paragraph 3 above.

6 Among other ideas the plan must include oral communication with your immediate Subordinates at a meeting. It should include the major objectives which you aim to achieve at such a meeting.

Role Playing

 A Meeting to -  Introduce Completed Staff Work (CSW)

Role: Boss

1 You have decided you want your Immediate Subordinates to use CSW (oral and written) in the future.
2 Assume you have a plan to achieve this objective. This plan includes a meeting with your immediate Subordinate and how you will conduct the meeting.
3 Assume you have achieved about 80% of whatever objectives you have listed and which you plan to achieve before the plan calls for you to have a meeting.
4 Conduct the meeting according to your plan but the plan must include the end objective of at least 80% use of CSW on the job (as described in paragraph 1 of the Exercise)
5 Other Course Members, using their own names will play the role of your Subordinates.

Role Playing

A Meeting to  – Introduce Completed Staff Work (CSW)

Role: Subordinate - Ordinary

1 Use your own name and take the role of an immediate Subordinate of the person taking the role of Boss.

2 Act in a way you consider appropriate to the behaviour of the Boss. If the Boss upsets you, react accordingly – but in moderation. If the Boss and/or the meeting makes you feel enthusiastic about CSW, then show enthusiasm although try to put up at least one objection to CSW during the meeting at a time you consider reasonable to providing the “Boss” with some opposition (but not overwhelming opposition)

3 if another Subordinate makes you want to argue with that Subordinate then do so but argue only in a mild way and only for a minute or two.

4 ln general act cooperatively, especially if the Boss behaves in a manner which seeks cooperation and makes you feel cooperative.

5 Overall you will tend to favour CSW but only after you have heard at least two advantages for it. But you must perceive the ideas put forward as advantages.

Role Playing

A Meeting to -  Introduce Completed Staff Work (CSW)

Role: Subordinate - Favourable to CSW

1 Use your own name and take the role of an immediate Subordinate of the Person taking the role of the Boss.

2 In general you quickly perceive the advantages of CSW to you, the Boss, your Section, and the whole organisation.

3 You will support anyone who favours CSW and argue with anyone who opposes CSW. However you should vary your behaviour to try to give “the Boss” something to overcome in the situation but not too much.

4 Try to assess the progress the Boss has made towards the objective of achieving the introduction of CSW to the Section.

5 If the Boss looks as if the approach taken will prove effective and/or you rate the Boss’ behaviour as effective so far then you can reduce your support, possibly to the extent of making very few contributions.

6 If you rate the Boss as doing an adequate job then increase your support of the idea of CSW. However do NOT help by trying to help the Boss run the meeting. Help only by supporting the ideas of the Boss.

7 However if the Boss acts in a way to stop your support or annoys you then react as you feel you would in real life, but keep your reaction down to a mild level.

Role Playing

A Meeting to – Introduce Completed Staff Work (CSW)

Role: Subordinate - Dependent Personality

1 Use your own name and take the role of an immediate Subordinate of the Person taking the role of the Boss.

2 In general you do not like making decisions, any decisions. You do not like to make mistakes, hence you do not want to commit yourself. You will not perceive CSW as providing any advantage to you – in fact you believe it will act against you.

3 You will, therefore, not favour CSW.

4 You will tend to achieve your own objective by supporting any ideas which people bring forward to oppose CSW.

5 You will not bring up ideas against it yourself unless asked directly.

6 However you should vary your behaviour with the aim of giving the Boss something to overcome, but not too much to make it impossible for the Boss to succeed.

7 Try to assess the effectiveness of the performance by the Boss regarding the objective of achieving a favourable attitude to CSW. If the Boss handles the meeting and the objective adequately or better, you can give some resistance and opposition. If you rate the Boss’ performance as inadequate and/or having difficulties in dealing with the situation then do NOT raise any difficulties unless the Boss picks on you and/or does not deal with you in what you consider a reasonable

Completed Staff Work


1 In many Organisations, Subordinates and/or Staff Advisors bring their Managers a problem and sometimes even possible solutions, but (unless trained or unusual) usually they do no more. In effect, they “dump’ the problem on the Manager’s lap.

2 These notes discuss Completed Staff Work (CSW) – a technique that aims to reduce the number of times people dump problems on others. They explain a meaning for CSW (Completed Staff Work), list four stages, and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the approach to both Managers and Subordinates.

3 The notes point out that CSW (Completed Staff Work) applies to that area of a person’s job where the person does NOT have the right to make decisions and implement them.

4 The notes also point out that people can (a) practise oral as well as written CSW and (b) always make recommendations, but with varying degrees of confidence. Recommenders often need to make assumptions; if so, they should include them with their recommendations.


A Definition of Completed Staff Work (CSW)

5 Completed Staff Work – the presentation by one person[1] (a) to another person or a group (b) of a problem and/or opportunity, plus a recommendation regarding the problem and/or opportunity which the receiver (person or group) (b) can accept or reject.

6 The following catch phrase sums up Completed Staff Work – “Don’t bring me a problem, bring me a recommended solution”.


People Involved in Completed Staff Work

7 Completed Staff Work (CSW) will occur between (a) a Manager and a Subordinate and (b) a Manager or an Operator. an Advisor (Staff Person) from a different section of the Organisation. However, it could also occur between any two people. It can also occur between a person and a group (e.g. a Committee or a Board of Directors.
The Source of the Problem/Opportunity

8 Any person may find a problem/opportunity. Sometimes Managers identify a problem and ask their Subordinates to give them a recommended solution. At other times, a Subordinate or Staff Advisor may identity a problem/opportunity.

“Completed” Work - from Either Staff Person or Subordinate

9 CSW originally referred to recommendations submitted by Staff (Advisory) personnel. However all Subordinates can deal with their Managers in the same way. In this case, the phrase Completed Subordinate Work” would represent the idea equally as well as Completed Staff Work.

10 Sometimes the word “Completed” in the label for this technique confuses people. They interpret it to mean completion of the solving of a problem (or the grasping of an opportunity). It does NOT mean this type of completion; it refers to “completing” work by the addition of a recommendation.
Four Stages in Completed Staff Work

11 The following paragraphs list four stages of CSW. However, CSW exists even if no one carries outStage 4. This point rates as true only if Readers use the definition of CSW given in these notes.

(a)   Stage 1: Identify a problem.

(b)   Stage 2: Identify and evaluate possible solutions.[2]

(c)    Stage 3: Recommend ONE solution as the best solution to the problem.

(d)   Stage 4: Prepare material to implement the recommended solution to the problem.

13 The following chart shows these stages:

Identify Problem

Find Solutions

Recommend a Solution

Prepare Material to implement Recommendation






Stage 3 includes Knowledge of the Problem

14 Stage 3 (Recommend a Solution) implies that the Recommender must also explicitly, or implicitly, inform the Manager of the problem as well.

Implementational Material

15 The fourth stage covers material to carry out (implement) a recommendation. Subordinates only recommend solutions. They have no right to implement the solution – until the Manager agrees to the recommended solution. However, if a Manager accepts a recommendation, some action(s) have to occur (e.g. prepare some written material) to implement the recommended decision. If the Subordinate prepares this material, ready for the Manager to sign, this action will speed up the implementation.

16 Stage 4 does not include material used to analyse the possibilities or support the recommendations. This type of material belongs in Stage 2.

17 Examples of Implementational Material (a) Stan recommended – “Buy” something”. The implementational material involves a Purchase Order. (b) If the recommended solution involves putting up a notice on the notice board a Subordinate could prepare this notice. (c) A memo that instructs someone to take action provides another example. In this case, the Manager merely signs and issues it - provided he/she agreed with the recommendation.

Decide What Your Organisation means by CSW

18 Organisations should decide how to use the term CSW. These notes recommend:

(a) Use the term CSW to apply to the first three stages only

(b) Do not carry out CSW to stage four unless asked to “Do CSW to Stage 4”.


How many stages of CSW should a Manager use?

19 Managers may ask a Subordinate to carry out Stage 2 but not communicate the details to the Managers. They just want a recommendation from the Subordinates. However, this approach robs Managers of “insurance” i.e. a check on their own thinking. In Subordinates’ possible solutions, Managers may find ones that they have never considered. Once identified, they might rate such a solution as the best or well worth further consideration.


Should People include Stage 4 in their Work?

20 Some Managers ask for CSW including Stage 4. Prepared implementational material will save time provided the Manager accepts the recommendation and approves the implementational material. However, the people involved in CSW should balance the advantages of preparing material if the Manager does not accept the Subordinate’s recommendation

21 Example If Sam, a Subordinate, spends two hours getting to the end of Stage 3 and another ten hours on doing the implementational material and Mary his Manager rejects the recommended solution, Sam may have wasted ten hours work. Perhaps some of the implementational material will help with different recommended solution, but most will prove valueless.

22 Managers should decide whether to ask a Subordinate to include Stage 4 in the Subordinates CSW after considering the following factors:
(a) The Managers assessment of the Subordinates ability. Managers should consider their Subordinates general ability and/or their ability in the particular problem area.

(b) The likelihood that the Manager will accept the recommendation (Stage 3)

(c) The time required to carry out Stage 4.

(d) The probability that the Subordinate will do Stage 4 material in a form acceptable to the Manager.
23 All Managers should examine their use of CSW with the above factors in mind.
A Manager should accept Implementational Material if it will achieve the End Objective.

24 Managers should realise that Subordinates will produce different implementational material (letters, memos, etc.) from themselves. Probably Subordinates will have a different style and prefer different words to their Manager

25 Managers should balance a fondness for their own particular ideas with the need to avoid wasted effort. Wise Managers will approve the material in Stage 4 provided it will achieve the desired objectives even though the Managers would have used different words, punctuation, or layout.
The Areas of a Person’s Job in which CSW should operate

26 From a decision-making viewpoint, the following two major areas exist in any person’s position:

(a) For some things the person has the right to make various decisions and carry them out (implement them).

(b) For all the other things in the position, the Organisation (his/her Manager) withholds the right to make decisions.

27 Examples. Matthew has the right to buy goods up to a certain value, hire certain types of people, and raise the wages of other people. He may have the right to dismiss certain Subordinates, spend $5,000 on equipment, or increase the number of Engineers employed in his Section.

28 At a different level, Liz, a Typist, has the right to obtain more typing paper from the Store, but not to order the paper from an outside Supplier. Mary, a Cleaner, has the right to stack her brooms and equipment in the cleaning cupboard in a way that suits her requirements. She may not have the right to determine which cleaning material to buy or to store her equipment in a different place from the one given to her.

29 CSW applies to those areas of a person’s job where the person does not have the right to make decisions. In these areas, the person may make recommendations – the very essence of CSW[3]. Where a person has the right to make decisions and implement them, CSW does NOT apply.

30 The following diagram illustrates the above point:
31 Note – A person could use CSW in Area “A” i.e. the Person could recommend a solution to a problem when the person has the right to implement the solution without seeking anyone’s permission. For most situations, such an approach would not make wise use of CSW.


Advantages that CSW has over other Management Approaches

32 CSW has certain advantages that occur rarely with other management approaches that do not use CSW; i.e. Subordinates do NOT make recommendations. The following sections discuss these advantages.
Advantages to Managers

33 Managers receive information on the decision-making ability of their Subordinateswithout the risk of having a Subordinate taking some action. The recommended solution involves a decision by the Subordinates on what they think someone should do.

34 Managers receive solutions that they may not have thought of themselves. However, to obtain new ideas, Managers should ensure that their Subordinates offer solutions and a recommendation – before knowing what the Managers think. Sometimes when Managers discuss solutions with Subordinates, a definite risk exists that the Subordinate will try to find out what the Managers want and support this solution.

35 A Manager can put the question: “What do you recommend?” (or similar)[4] to an angry person. It will have a better than average chance of calming down an angry and/or upset person.It tries to get an angry person to concentrate on solving a problem rather than thinking about the harm the problem has caused. It encourages the person to look to the future rather than a past annoyance.

36 This approach will not always calm down an angry person (i.e. the Complainer does not try to find a recommendation to solve the problem).  However, the approach has little chance of making the person angrier. Thus, a Manager can try it without running much risk and it takes only a little time to try. At best it will succeed; at the worst it will make a very angry person maintain a very high level of anger.

37 (Some Readers will not necessarily agree with this point as an advantage of CSW or all the points in the previous paragraph. Appendix A (at the end of these notes} discusses the matter in more detail.

38 Managers save timeprovided they agree with the Subordinate’s recommendation. They merely have to understand the problem/opportunity and say: “I agree”.

39 CSW should encourage higher-level Managers to define more clearly the line between the areas in which the person can (a) make a decision and (b) can only make recommendations. (Paragraphs 26-31 discuss this “line”.


Advantages to Subordinates or Staff People.

40 CSW allows Subordinates to demonstrate their decision-making abilities.

41 Subordinates obtain practice in making decisions.

42 Some Subordinates often find greater job satisfaction working in situations where they have to provide CSW. The approach encourages them to look for, and understand, the “larger picture”. They gain satisfaction providedtheir Manager (a) accepts their recommendation or (b) tells them something that allows them to believe they made a good recommendation within the limitations of their knowledge and experience.

43 Some Subordinates find they obtain more decisions from their Manager once they provide the Manager with CSW.

44 Subordinates may spend more time working out a recommendation as compared with just presenting a problem. However often they will save time in discussions with their Managers, especially when Managers accept their recommendation.


Advantages to both Manager and Subordinate

45 Where a Manager accepts most previous recommendations of a Subordinate the Manager will feel encouraged to give the Subordinate more rights to make decisions and implement them- as opposed to making recommendations. The Manager increases the scope of a Subordinates job by this move. Some People call this change – job enrichment. ProvidedSubordinates like to have their jobs enriched, the Subordinates gain greater job satisfaction.

46 Managers who disagree with their Subordinates’ recommendations have a good opportunity to explain the reason for the disagreement to the Subordinates. CSW automatically provides Managers with a good opportunity to coach their Subordinateson an appropriate principle or on some points that the Subordinate may have forgotten or not have known. Thus, Subordinates receive useful training.

47 A person who puts forward a Recommendation and has it accepted probably has a high commitment to that decision. If so, Managers have more committed Subordinates and Subordinates feel happy about trying to achieve their accepted recommendation.

48 Suppose a Manager persuades a person with low confidence to give recommendations. If such people give recommendations that their Manager praises and/or accepts, the process will help these people to gain (more) confidence.

49 Provided the advantages mentioned above occur, the following things will follow. Managers will gain better-trained people, more capable of taking more work off the hands of the Managers. Thus, Managers receive more help to achieve their Section’s objectives. The Organisation can promote the Managers because they have able Subordinates, some of whom can replace the Managers. The Subordinates obtain a greater probability of gaining promotion.


Disadvantages of Completed Staff Work

50 Some Subordinates do not want to make recommendations. Some see this technique as one that exposes them more to the risk of making errors, i.e. they “fail” if their Managers reject their recommendations.[5] Some believe that making recommendations (decisions) on particular is- sues does not rate as part of their job. Thus, they say to their Manager – “You get paid to make such decisions; I don’t. That’s your job.”

51 Some Subordinates will worry and work less capably if their Manager rejects many recommendations.

52 The trainingof some Subordinates to use CSW will take more time at the beginning than CSW saves.

53 Sometimes CSW leads to arguments and unhappy feelings between the people involved. This situation occurs when Subordinates use many excuses for avoiding giving a recommendation and/or they do not accept the rejection of their recommendations.

54 CSW will put pressure on Subordinates who do not have the confidence to give recommendations. Sometimes this pressure will produce lower activity in their overall job performance and probably will make them achieve lower job satisfaction.

55 Some Subordinates, who know that they should have a recommendation as well as their problem, will hesitate to tell their Manager of the problem because they cannot think of a satisfactory recommendation. Thus, the Manager may “discover” the problem only after considerable damage has occurred.

56 Insufficient thought given to a Problem by a Receiver of CSW. Sometimes people believe that they make a recommendation and the person receiving it agrees with the recommendation without giving it sufficient thought. Thus the CSW approach allows (or even encourages) a Manager to avoid considering a particular problem (and the recommended solution). In such a case, the Subordinate believes the problem rates as sufficiently important that it calls for another person to check their thinking and problem solving.

57 Example. Tom said – I put up a Recommendation to my Manager (Jane) and she too readily agreed with my recommendation.

58 In this case, the Recommenders should point out their viewpoint when they make their recommendation. In effect, they should (a) recommend a Solution to a problem and (b) recommend that their Manager give the problem and the recommended Solution significant thought (and checking).

59 However the disadvantage for CSW will continue to exist, if the Manger ignores the second recommendation [(b)] made in the previous paragraph.

Managers need not always use CSW

60 Managers should balance the advantage gained from CSW with the need to keep their Organisation operating. Sometimes Managers will decide that they cannot afford the time delayinvolved in having Subordinates analyse a problem and give a recommendation. In other cases they will believe the Subordinate would spend an unreasonable amount of time on analysing the problem and/or that the Subordinate does not really have the technical knowledge or ability to deal with a particular problem.[6]
61 Subordinates often approach their Manager for decisions on a particular matter. If someone wrote down the situation instead of describing it orally, perhaps more Managers would recognise the need for CSW. When a Subordinate asks a question, most Managers tend to try to answer it. However if the question amounts to “What should I (we) do?” the Subordinate will receive better training if the Manager does not answer the question but asks, “What do you recommend?”
62 In most oral situations, a Subordinate could not carry out the fourth stage (prepare implementational material). However, a Manager can still ask a Subordinate to prepare written implementational material, after the recommendation.
63 When Managers try to introduce oral CSW, they will find it difficult to avoid their usual tendency to answer a direct question. They need to restrain themselves. Restraint will take practice and many Managers will forget and find themselves solving the Subordinate’s problem by answering a question. Perhaps they should do so; but, if they do, they will not encourage Subordinates to think out their own answers and provide the Managers with evidence of the Subordinate’s decision- making.
A Recommendation may include Assumptions

64 Sometimes Subordinates will feel that they should make assumptions about unknown and important factors in order to make a recommendation. If so, they should do so and should include the assumptions with their recommendation.

65 Example. “I recommend Plan “S” and base this solution on the assumptions that the cost of the new machine involved with Plan “S” will not exceed $20, 000 and the Supplier can deliver it within four weeks.”


People can Always make Recommendations, But with Different Degrees of Confidence

66 Some Subordinates believe they do not have enough information to make a recommendation. However anyone can always make a recommendation. At the very least, they can guess or toss a coin to select from among possible solutions.[7]

67 Everyone should realise that everyone makes recommendations with varying degrees of confidence. Managers should encourage Subordinates to include the confidence with which they make a particular recommendation.

68 Examples (a) A Subordinate may say: “We should use Plan A but I don’t see very much difference between Plans A, B, or C”. (b) “I rate Plan X as the best one and I feel very confident about my choice”

69 However the level of confidence refers to, at least, two aspects. It relates to the confidence that the Recommender gives to whether the recommended solution will:

(a) solve the problem and

(b) solve the problem better when compared with the next best solution.

70 This information should help the receiver of the recommendation to decide how much attention to give to other possible solutions as compared with the recommended one.

71 If a competent Recommender puts a high degree of confidence in the recommended solution, a Manager can give less attention to other possible solutions.

72 Similarly, if a competent Recommender favours one solution over another by only a small margin, probably the Manager should look more closely at the two solutions with similar degrees of confidence.

Introducing CSW
- Oral and/or Written

73 Probably most Executives will find some difficulties in introducing CSW.

74 Some Subordinates do not enjoy making recommendations and/or they will not understand the reason for the new approach. Managers should warn their Subordinates (possibly in a group) about their intention to use CSW. They should discuss the advantages and disadvantages of CSW, both oral and written. In an organisation that already uses written CSW, Managers may still need to introduce Oral CSW.

75 People can start using CSW themselves without having any Subordinates – they can start bringing their Manager a problem/opportunity plus a recommended solution.
A Form to Use for CSW

76 At the bottom of any written CSW (or on a separate sheet), the following form may help to remind a Subordinate to use CSW. It should also help to remind Managers that they have a part to play coaching their Subordinate with respect to recommendations.

77 I recommend ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

78 Based on Assumption(s) ……………………………………………………………………………


Degree of Certainty

79 I feel the recommended solution has …………. chances out of ten of solving the problem.

80 I feel the recommended solution has ……………chances out of ten of solving the problem better than the next-best solution (i.e. possible solution number ………)

Manager’s Decision

82 Reason for Disagreement……………………………………………………………….


83 The above form may seem a little cheeky to some Managers but it will remind people of ideas relevant to CSW.


The Importance of CSW

84 CSW may seem a simple technique. However, organisations and people who have introduced it have found it usually brings significant advantages. Readers who do not use it should give it serious consideration.

85 However people should also realise that training oneself and one’s Subordinates to use CSW does have some difficulties. Usually people will need patience and persistence to achieve full use of CSW.



86 These notes define Completed Staff Work as: The Presentation by One Person (A) to Another Person (B) of A Problem and/or Opportunity, Plus a Recommendation Regarding the Problem and/or Opportunity that the Receiver (Person B) can Accept or Reject.

87 CSW may occur between (a) Manager and Subordinate or (b) Manager/Operator and Advisor (Staff Person).
88 The four stages of CSW cover (a) identify a problem; (b) identify, analyse, and evaluate possible solutions; (c) recommend one of the solutions as the best solution to the problem; and (d) prepare material to implement the recommended solution to the problem

89 Someone must carry out the first three stages for CSW to exist. However if a Subordinate also carries out Stage 4 of CSW, the Subordinate will waste time if the Manager does not accept the recommendation. Thus, in asking for Stage 4, a Manager should consider (a) the Subordinate’s ability – generally and in the problem area (i.e. the probability that the Subordinate will make a successful recommendation) (b) the time to do Stage 4, and (c) the probability that the Subordinate will do Stage 4 in a form acceptable to the Manager. However, Managers should realise that some Subordinates will not prepare the implementational material in the same way as they would. They should ask – “Will the material achieve the end objective?” If they answer “Yes”, they should accept the material.

90 CSW only applies to that area of a person’s job where the person does not have the right to make decisions and implement them.

91 CSW provides the following advantages over other Managing approaches. Managers (a) gain information on a Subordinate’s decision- making ability; (b) may gain solutions they would not have found, (c) can calm down an angry person and (d) save time whenever they agree with the recommendation.

92 Advantages for Subordinates include: (a) demonstrating their decision-making ability, (b) obtaining decision-making practice (c) gaining greater job satisfaction, (d) increasing the probability that they will obtain decisions from their Managers, and (e) saving discussion time with Managers.

93 Other advantages come where Managers accept most recommendations. This situation encourages them to give more rights to Subordinates to make decisions and implement them. This action enlarges the Subordinate’s position authority. CSW provides good opportunities for coaching Subordinates. Probably Subordinates will feel committed to any Recommendation that someone accepts and this attitude will make it easier for the Manager concerned. Managers have more chance that they will have Subordinates trained to take their position. Thus, both Manager and (promotable) Subordinates have a greater probability of obtaining promotion.

94 However disadvantagesexist: (a) Some Subordinates do not want to make a recommendation and their attempts to “sidestep will sometimes lead to arguments. (b) They will hesitate to tell Managers problems and Managers will learn of problems only after considerable damage has occurred. (c) Rejected recommendations may upset Subordinates (d) Introduction of CSW usually will mean more discussion time at the beginning and (e) Some Managers agree to a recommendation too readily – without giving it sufficient thought.

95 Managers should not use CSW if they decide they cannot afford the time delay and/or amount of time involved in a Subordinate analysing a situation and making a recommendation.

96 Managers should use oral, as well as written, CSW.

97 People should remember they can, and should, include the assumptions on which they base their recommendations.

98 Recommenders can always make recommendations but they will have different degrees of confidence and Recommenders should state their degrees of confidence.

99 Difficulties exist in introducing CSW. Managers should warn Subordinates they intend to change and inform them of the advantages of CSW.
100 CSW offers Managers a technique from which some Managers (and some Subordinates) have gained significant advantages. All Managers should consider using the technique.






Appendix A: Some additional ideas on - “calming down an angry or upset person”

CSW can calm down an Angry Person – Sometimes

1 What should people do when faced with an angry person?

2 One approach involves asking the person for a recommendation about the problem causing the anger. This approach aims to encourage the angry person to think about solving a problem rather than attacking some one. A person who starts to think about a solution may forget their anger.

3 Unfortunately this approach will not always work. However, PROVIDED the attempt does little or no harm, no risk exists in trying it.

4 Probably little risk exists that it will increasethe anger significantly.

5 Further, the approach only takes less than a minute to try.


The Probability of Success

6 The probability of succeeding will depend on various factors.

7 CSW will have a greaterchance of calming down an upset or angry person –

(a) where the angry person believes he/she has a solution that will solve/reduce the cause of the anger. (Note also that the CSW request could bring a solution quickly to mind.)

(b) where the angry person does not classify the person asking for CSW as involved in causing their problem, and

(c) the lower the anger of the angry person

8 CSW will have a lower chance of calming an angry person –

(a) where the angry person does not have a solution and the CSW approach does not bring one to mind quickly,

(b) where the angry person perceives the Questioner as having rejected previously-suggested solutions on this problem and/or others,

(c) where the angry person classifies the person asking for CSW as part of the problem, especially if classified as causing the problem,

(d) when the angry person rates as very angry.

9 If the question fails, the Questioner has to use other methods of calming down the person.

10 Examples. Listen quietly to the person so that they can “let off steam” (i.e. become less angry). Then, try the CSW technique.


Increase the Probability that the CSW Approach will Work

11 People will have a higher probability of using this approach successfully if they use it in particular ways.

12 The following section suggests various approaches.


Different Variations for the CSW Approach

Phrase the question so that it offers a very gentle approach.

13 The CSW question aims to switch the persons’ attention toward trying to solve the problem. However, some people will need a gentle and/or slow approach to the “switching”. A direct – “Well, what do you recommend to solve the problem?” may prove too blunt, too much of a shock.

14 Thus – what phrasing will make “What do you suggest?” offer an angry person an acceptable suggestion?

15 Consider the following possibilities

(a) “I wonder what sort of things would have to happen to reduce this problem”

(b) Have you thought of any ways of reducing the problem?

(c) “I guess it would prove useful if we (you) could find a way to reduce this problem”.
16 All the above three examples use the words “reduce” or “reducing”. They could use (a) “solve”, “solving”, (b) “eliminate”, or “eliminating”. However, it will prove easier to reduce a problem than solve it. Thus the reduce approach puts less pressure on the angry person to produce a solution.

17 Two of the three previous examples ask whether a particular person or persons could do something {(b) & (c)}. The next section discusses this topic.

Consider which Person (if any) the Question should Suggest/Imply could take some Action

18 The question could state or imply that the following people take some action

(a) the angry person

(b) the person asking the question of the angry person

(c) both people in conjunction

(d) someone else involved in the situation

(e) someone else not involved in the situation

19 The question could also try to avoid mentioning any person.

20 Examples.

(a) What should happen? Avoid mentioning any person
(b) What should happen next?
(c) What do you suggest should happen? To the angry person
(d) What would you like to see happen next?
(e) What do you suggest you should do about the situation?
(f) What do you suggest I do about the situation? “I” equals the Questioner
(g) What do you suggest we do about the situation? Both People involved
(h) What should Mary do about the situation? Someone else involved (e.g. Mary)
(i) What do you think Harry would suggest doing? Someone else NOT involved
(j) What do you think Janet would do if she found herself in this situation?


What approach should a person try first?
21 Probablyapproaches which distance themselves from the angry person will have the better chance of not upsetting the person. If so, then the first approaches to try would use (a) avoid mentioning any person and (b) mention someone else, not involved.

22 Next might come the someone else, but this person has an involvement.

23 At a guess, the rest should follow in order (a) both people, (b) the questioner, and (c) the angry person.

24 The above suggestions put the angry person last. However what if the angry person does have a suggestion/solution? In this case, the person might reply – “It’s about time someone (you) asked me for my ideas (solution)[8] Thus, in this case, the use of “you” in the question should have a high priority.


Use a Statement before the basic Question

25 A statement before a question offers one way of softening the introduction of a request for a recommendation.

26 Such a statement should have one or both of the following characteristics –

(a) Show person you understand their attitude

(b) Sympathise with the angry person’s situation

27 “The situation has upset you.”

28 No doubt you feel (somewhat)[9] upset/annoyed about this situation. (Question follows)

29 I can see that this situation annoys you (has upset you) (then use a question)

30 Clearly this situation has caused you a lot of worry (then use a question)

31 It must prove very upsetting for you to find yourself in this situation.

32 “I can appreciate that you feel (somewhat)’° upset/annoyed about this situation.”

33 One rule would say – Do not bring yourself into the conversation, otherwise an angry person can answer – “How do you know how I feel?”



34 The CSW approach will calm down an angry person work on some occasions. Users will increase the probability of the approach succeeding if they take great care in the words used to try the CSW approach.


Appendix B: Level of Confidence

1 The level of confidence of any given recommendation can refer to at least two aspects.

2 The first aspect refers to the confidence the Recommender has concerning the probability that the recommended solution will actually solve the problem.

3 The second aspect of level of confidence refers to the comparative confidence in the recommended solution as compared with other possible solutions.

4 Examples. Tom has a particular problem in dealing with Mary and Bill. Mary and Bill work together in the one section but do not get on very well with each other and do not cooperate well on the work scene. Tom’s Manager asks Tom to try to “deal with” the problem.

5 Tom produces three possible solutions. The first involves transferring one of the parties to a different section. The second involves asking Bill to look for another position. The third involved getting them to sit down with the Personnel Manager to fix all the real causes of their problems and get to know each other better.

6 Tom recommendstransferring Bill to a different section. He has a very high degree of confidence that the recommendation will “solve the problem” (“First aspect” – see paragraph 2 above). However he sees the recommendation as not very much different from the idea of asking Bill to look for another position (“Second aspect” – see paragraph 3 above)

7 In summary, Tom has a high level of confidence in his recommended solution but does not feel his recommended solution has a much higher chance of succeeding than his next-best solution.

8 In another situation, Mary has a problem and works out solutions A, B, and C.

9 She finally recommends B and has a level of confidence of only a 50/50 in B, i.e. she believes only one chance in two exists that B will solve the problem (First Aspect). Further, she believes that B has a
far greater chance than A or C (Second Aspect)

[1] This one person may represent a group.

[2] Logically no one can carry out Stage 3 without doing Stage 2. However, Stage 2 may take less than a few minutes. A Person may think of a solution and immediately decide to recommend it.

[3] This section does not define “tightly” a decision or recommendation. From one viewpoint, making a recommendation involves making a decision. For this section, “the decision on what to recommend” does not fall into the class of “decision”.

[4] Managers can use such questions as – What do you suggest would solve this problem? What would you do in this situation if you had my job? What decision would you make if you could not contact me?

[5] Knowledge of this type may prove an advantage to the Manager of the Subordinate concerned.

[6] The notes on “When should a Manager/Subordinate use CSW” discuss this topic in more detail.

[7] This sentence does not aim to suggest that people should make decisions by tossing a coin. It merely points out that people can always make a recommendation; but not necessarily a good recommendation.

[8] The questioner should ignore the attacking/aggressive remark and ask again for the ideas of the angry person.

[9] The use of the word “somewhat” aims to encourage the person to perceive the situation as a little less annoying than they currently believe. However, this approach risks the retort - “What do you mean ‘somewhat’? I feel bloody annoyed.”