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Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition Hardcover – September 7, 2011
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The New York Times bestseller that changed the way millions communicate Crucial Conversations draws our attention to those defining moments that literally shape our lives our relationships and our world This book deserves to take its place as one of the key thought leadership contributions of our time -from the Foreword by Stephen R Covey author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People The quality of your life comes out of the quality of your dialogues and conversations Heres how to instantly uplift your crucial conversations -Mark Victor Hansen cocreator of the 1 New York Times bestselling series Chicken Soup for the SoulR Coming in as the new CEO of an organization with many tenured employees I have had many crucial conversations Using Crucial Conversations as my playbook during this time was paramount in guiding me through each conversation -Joanne K Bryson CAE Executive Vice President and CEO Oregon Medical Association Any book is powerful if you can relate to its content is simple to understand easy to apply and is based on research I have found all of these elements in Crucial Conversations The narrative has a universal appeal and the strength to transcend cultures Capt Charanjit Lehal AGM Training and Development TataSky India I was personally and professionally inspired by this book-and Im not easily impressed -Maureen Burke Training Manager Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc About the Book Perhaps once a decade a book comes along that transforms peoples lives in a very real measurable way This is one of them Crucial Conversations exploded onto the scene ten years ago and revolutionized the way people communicate when stakes are high opinions vary and emotions run strong Since then millions of people have learned how to hold effective crucial conversations and have dramatically improved their lives and careers thanks to the methods outlined in this book Now the authors have revised their bestselling classic to provide e
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Feelings get hurt in conversations, lies are told, deception, betrayal, all of these can happen in conversations.
Enter the book Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High. I heard Joseph Grenny, one of the authors speak on this topic recently at the leadership summit and got a lot out of his session.
All of us know the feeling of this kind of conversation and we know that this is where life changes.
Here are 10 things I got from the book that I have found helpful in my life and leadership:
1. When we face crucial conversations, we can do one of three things: We can avoid them, We can face them and handle them poorly, or We can face them and handle them well. At the heart of almost all chronic problems in our organizations, our teams, and our relationships lie crucial conversations—ones that we’re either not holding or not holding well. Christians and church staffs are notorious for avoiding crucial conversations. This is why churches often split, people leave hurt and visions never move forward. Instead of doing the hard work in a conversation, they are avoided. When in reality, because of what is at stake (salvation) and because of the calling of Jesus, we should do a better job of having crucial conversations.
2. Individuals who are the most influential—who can get things done and at the same time build on relationships—are those who master their crucial conversations. We all know this to be true. If you aren't very good at dialogue, you sit back in wonder at those who are. They are able to gain more influence, get more done and people want to be on their team and a part of what they are doing. This is why raising the value of this skill and getting better at it matters so much. Things move forward or stop around conversations.
3. The mistake most of us make in our crucial conversations is we believe that we have to choose between telling the truth and keeping a friend. Grenny said this at the summit and it grabbed my attention. This is one of, if not the main reason, most conversations stop and things do not move forward. Fear. Fear of a relationship ending, something stopping, getting fired or hurting someone. Yet, if we don't tell the truth, we often can't be a friend.
4. People rarely become defensive simply because of what you’re saying. They only become defensive when they no longer feel safe. The problem is not the content of your message, but the condition of the conversation. If you are a boss and want honest feedback and conversation, people can't fear for their jobs or that you will yell at them. Recently, there has been a lot of writing online about pastors abusing people, creating a culture of fear, yelling at staff members, elders and volunteers and it blows my mind. If you are known for that as a pastor, you should be embarrassed.
5. Be careful not to apologize for your views. This can be easy to do and it often happens as a way to soften your opinion or the blow in a conversation, but you shouldn't apologize for what you think. It is what you think. It might be hard or unpopular to say, but don't shy away from it. You may be wise to change how you phrase it, but always be willing to share what you think in a conversation.
6. One of the ironies of dialogue is that, when talking with those holding opposing opinions, the more convinced and forceful you act, the more resistant others become. I done this very easily in the past. Yet, this practice keeps people from buying in and helping to make something happen. When we do this, we don't understand why people aren't on board. The reason is the harder we push our way, the harder they push their way.
7. Speaking in absolute and overstated terms does not increase your influence, it decreases it. The converse is also true—the more tentatively you speak, the more open people become to your opinions. The more harshly we speak or the more we give the impression that there is only one way, the less likely it becomes that people will speak up. Now, on issues like vision, it must be clear and have agreement. But, in conversations, if we give the impression that something has been decided or that we aren't open to suggestions, we will kill discussion.
8. When we feel the need to push our ideas on others, it’s generally because we believe we’re right and everyone else is wrong. This is another way the previous one. If you find yourself pushing your ideas, you aren't having a good dialogue and instead are simply giving out orders. That may be your leadership style, but it won't accomplish a healthy team environment and in the end, your church or business will never reach its full potential.
9. The more you care about an issue, the less likely you are to be on your best behavior. As a leader or a person in a relationship, you must learn this well. This was an eye opening insight for me. I get very passionate about things, as most people do, and when I do, I can shut down dialogue and end up hurting people. We do this, often unintentionally because we care about something, because we believe we are right and have the only way forward.
10. The fuzzier the expectations, the higher the likelihood of disappointment. When a crucial conversation ends, there must be clear expectations and guidance moving forward. It cannot be fuzzy or gray. Otherwise, a conversation has not ended, it is simply on pause.
All in all, this was an incredibly helpful book. Some of it covered things I already knew but showed some helpful insights. I've already seen a change in some of my conversations with leaders at my church and in my family through this book. Definitely one I'd recommend.
I've already started using the tools in Crucial Conversations with my spouse. Right now, I'm happy to say that my relationship is in a very good place, but as I read the book, I reflected on years of misunderstandings and jumping to conclusions and seeing where I would often take the doomed route to nowhere, rather than the safe and smart path to a place of mutual understanding, trust and love. So I've started applying these principles and teaching my husband how to look for signs and how to communicate to me when he feels unsafe or unhappy in a conversation, or as the authors put it, when "dialogue" stops, because when you step out of dialogue, all breaks down, so the goal is to stay in dialogue when stakes are high, when emotions are strong.
Another great tool you learn in this book is to state the mutual purpose and draw from that to bring yourself and the other person to the same side. As you begin the process, you can create safety and trust by doing this very early on.
If you believe that communication is at the heart of getting things done, building relationships, creating an impact, as I do, then this is one of the BEST books on communication when stakes are high, and if you are able to have a powerful crucial conversation, if you can train yourself to do this with the help of the amazing techniques in this book, then you have a rare gift that helps you in all areas of life.
I've started recommending this book and even sending it to my clients, and teaching the principles in my coaching sessions. It is even worth a re-read. Highly recommended.
The book is chock full of good ideas on ways to communicate more effectively when it really counts. The authors provide great tips to illustrate the principles and make them real. There are no shockers here. Everything is pretty common sense and yet, it took this book for me to put them together.
I have already used the principles I learned in the book in crucial conversations both at home and work. I've certainly not mastered the art yet, but I do feel more prepared and a bit less anxious in these high impact situations. I look forward to continuing to practice and improve over time.
If your life requires that you interact with others, this book is for you!