March 19

Straight Talk Framework Overview

Straight Talk Framework


Straight Talk is honesty, with empathy. 

And it’s so much more. 

In school, we learn the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Straight Talk is the shortest distance between two people. It’s more than communication. Straight Talk is an experience, a skillset, and a practice. 

Straight Talk is open to all and something each of us can experience and offer. The Straight Talk Framework makes all of that and more possible. 

The Straight Talk Framework organizes experience, orders thinking, and guides directed action. Start where you are. Embrace what you already know. Improve as you advance on your individual journey. 

Use the framework to diagnose the situation, prescribe directed action, and guide development. 

The Straight Talk Framework guides individuals and teams — primary, cross-functional, and even ad-hoc. It works for children and families (I know this because we use it). The transparency allows for multiple systems and methods to achieve the same outcome. With no single ‘right’ way, people focus on completing instead of competing. 

Straight Talk is communication and more. The experience includes honesty, with empathy. Love, not fear. Unity, not division. Straight Talk sees and celebrates progress, success, and value. 

Straight Talk connects people with value. Often, it begins by connecting us to our own value. 

When we are connected to our value, we more readily see the value in others. When we see value in ourselves, others see it, too. 

When we bring people together in the context of value and their voices are heard, they hear others. Different perspectives combine for a more complete picture. What we accomplish united is remarkable. It feels good. We crave more of it. 

The Straight Talk Framework started with five core questions. It’s since expanded into three main areas:  identifying, actualizing, and articulating value. Those areas organize the elements, still offered in the form of questions. 

While the framework expanded, it got more flexible and easier to use. Partly because of levels match experience with need and suggest adjustable constraints to clarify, prioritize, and guide action. 

At a high level, the framework operates in often-iterative steps:  

  1. Select and answer the right questions 
  2. If necessary, consider perspectives
  3. If needed, work through defined rounds

As you gain experience, the framework guides your “Best Next Step” on your Straight Talk Journey.  

The approach to learning and practicing Straight Talk is designed to ease the cognitive load. 

No need to learn a new way of doing things with already limited time and energy. Start with your existing experience and insights to build a system that works for you. 

Then we forge that system into a powerful practice to combat chaos, overcome friction, and beat resistance. Consistently create and celebrate value. Constantly earn more about yourself, your work, and your environment (situation). Distill to your Best Next Step and improve. 

Own your pathway and your success. 

The Straight Talk Framework guides your individual journey. I’ve got dozens of insights and resources (models, methods, and other goodies) planned to speed you along the path. You can find some at https://StraightTalk.Works.

I’m excited to share the current iteration of nearly two decades of experience with you. It’s a work in progress and I invite you to engage with me. Let me know what you think. Point out typos, mistakes, and areas of confusion. 

Show me how you use the Straight Talk Framework and ask for help when you need it. We’ll all get better together. 

About the author 

Michael Santarcangelo

I'm driven by a simple purpose: I love it when people see something great in themselves that inspires them to realized untapped potential and create a story worth celebrating.

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