Lessons from palliative care in communicating honestly

Sometimes I stumble across ideas that are so useful and simple that I wonder why they aren't globally known. The SPIKES protocol taught to medical students as an effective and compassionate way to break bad news falls into this category:

S: set up the interview
P: assess the patient's perception
I: obtain the patient's invitation
K: provide the knowledge
E: address the patient's emotions
S: establish a treatment strategy

Robert Plant's article adapts this into a method for breaking bad news to your CEO. Robert doesn't suggest an acronym but I think UPFRONT has a nice ring to it:

U: understand what the CEO knows and what they don't know but need to know
P: put aside enough time to deal with the issue without interruptions
F: find a business stakeholder who needs the problem fixed
R: detail the risks of inaction
O: outline best, typical and worst case scenarios if nothing is done
N: agree to take action now
T: provide a list of tasks to get from here to the goal

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