Monday, December 21, 2015

crucial conversations post #1

Crucial Conversations has a website, which is filled with resources about communication and leadership. Find it here:

Chapter 1: What's a Crucial Conversation? And Who Cares?

MORAL OF THE CHAPTER: Honing your ability to have the difficult conversations is key to successful leadership.  There is a myriad of evidence to make this a priority skill to possess.


For writing purposes, I'm abbreviating crucial conversations as CCs.

Chapter begins with this quote:
The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. -George Bernard Shaw
Definition of CCs:
...interactions that happen to everyone. They're the day-to-day conversations that affect your life (pg. 1)
A discussion between two or more people where (1) stakes are high, (2) opinions vary, and (3) emotions run strong. 
Components of CCs:
  1. Opinions vary
  2. Stakes are high
  3. Emotions run strong
 One of three things happen during CCs:
  1. We avoid it.
  2. We have the conversation & it doesn't go well.
  3. We have it & it goes well.
Why CCs Fail
  • Designed Wrong: Humans are programmed to into emotions in conversations.  When stakes get high, our adrenaline increases, causing us to have less control of emotions.
  • Under Pressure: Most CCs are spontaneous, leaving us feeling like we need to respond right now.  We must think on the fly.  This causes more emotions.  When the unplanned conversations, happen you have these things to manage:
    • The issue at hand
    • The other person
    • A brain overwhelmed by adrenaline and emotions and thoughts
  • Little Practice w/ Effective Communication
Law of Crucial Conversations: Essentially, all effective leaders have "the capacity to skillfully address emotionally and politically risky issues."

People who are strong communicators:
  • Respond to financial pitfalls more quickly & more intelligently
  • 2/3 LESS likely to be injured or die due to unsafe work conditions
  • Save $$$ & time (Over $1,500 & 8 hours for each conversation)
  • Increase trust
  • Reduce transaction costs in virtual work teams
  • Influence change in toxic or poor-performing colleagues
Failures in business DOES NOT EQUAL failure in policies, processes, structures, or systems.  The real problem is employee behavior.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

crucial conversations reading goals

My supervisor continues to tell me that my career is a marathon, not a sprint,  Wise words.  I usually respond with, "If everything feels under control, you're not going fast enough" (Mario Andretti).  I believe that my career is going to be a balance of these two ideas. 

Cover for Crucial Conversations

Which brings me to this professional read.  In my yearly goals conversation, I expressed my desire to become better at communication.  I struggle with expressing my thoughts concisely, yet clearly, & delegating tasks.  My supervisor recommended Crucial Conversations by Patterson et. al. earlier this semester.  I'm finally taking his advice and picking up the book, even though I purchased it well over two months ago.

Just as I recommend to students, for this professional read, I'll be an active reader. I'll be annotating, reflecting, and paraphrasing as much as possible.  Every few days, I'll post my active reading thoughts in order to share what I've read and what I've reflected upon.