As I listened to some of the Government hearings on the Healthcare.gov website debacle, I couldn’t help but think that at least a few people (if not everyone) on the project team could use a copy of Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler. This New York Times bestseller provides ‘tools for talking when stakes are high’. Clearly, someone didn’t have the guts to speak up and say that the site wasn’t ready, there wasn’t enough time for testing or that some of the T’s hadn’t been crossed nor some of the I’s dotted.
Crucial Conversations is one of those self-help books that can applied to both professional and personal scenarios. The authors define a crucial conversation this way:
Crucial Conversation: A discussion between two or more people where (1) stakes are high, (2) opinions vary, and (3) emotions run strong.
Just reading this definition can bring on a bit of discomfort. I mean, who really looks forward to these types of conversations? Hardly anyone. What most of us do is avoid them, some of us participate but don’t handle them well and a small handful of us participate and get it right. The thing is handling a crucial conversation can have significant results – positive or negative depending on how it is handled.
Handling professional crucial conversations correctly can make or break a career or move a business to the next level (or cause it to fail). Handling personal crucial conversations effectively can move a friendship or a relationship towards its breaking point or deepen an emotional connection.
Here’s a list of How To’s you’ll find in the book:
- How to Stay Focused on What You Really Want
- How to Notice When Safety Is at Risk
- How to Make It Safe to Talk about Almost Anything
- How to Stay in Dialogue When You’re Angry, Scared or Hurt
- How to Speak Persuasively, Not Abrasively
- How to Listen When Others Blow Up or Clam Up
- How to Turn Crucial Conversations into Action and Results
- Tools for Preparing and Learning
- Advice for Tough Cases
- How to Turn Ideas into Habits
Pretty impressive, right? It has been quite a while since I first read this book, and after looking it over again to write this review, I think I’ll give it another read soon.