Crucial Conversations

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I knew I was in trouble when I read the words "go back to the book again, learn some more and apply your new learnings". Deep thinking was not even a phrase I had thought about in at least two years (since my last Dr. Bill class). Obviously, this book was hand picked for a reason to allow the process of deep CRITICAL thinking to take place. Go back and apply what you have learned…. learn more…….

The beginning of the book dives into what is critical communications? Does it make a difference and honestly who cares? Specifically however, points out that we as a society will avoid a conversation the more important and or critical it becomes regardless if this is in a personal, business and or health situation. If we decide to take on a crucial conversation we will handle in one of three ways: avoid it, face it and handle it poorly or face it and handle it well. As with most human nature we will always take the path of least resistance.

Avoidance and the problem will go away, I have exhibited this skill more than once in my personal and professional life. More specially my separation from Alltel. I confronted my vice president on how I felt our market was performing as well as what I thought the changes could be to improve the workforce and retain our employees. I was proud of myself for sticking up for what I believe in however, I do now realize that I avoided the issue until absolutely the last minute, faced it but, overall handled it poorly. I did use terms and phrases that did not exhibit a shared environment of ideas. In retrospect, I also feel this was a direct correlation of past meeting with her as well as previous leaders. Was I simply using skills I had learned in the past and possibly never been exposed to a person who could deal with crucial conversation naturally?

Moving on into the book the authors combined several years of data and shadowing experiences to find what skills make a person good with tough, critical conversations. Through the research they realized that the common skills in the "best" performers could be learned. These skills were exhibited by people that were not always management, not necessarily born with the skills but, overall dealt with issues head on, rolled with the punches and welcomed an environment of open ideas. The newly founded dialogue skill patterns in each of the "best" proved time and time again that evolvement (open floor of ideas) was key to buy in.

What have I been in school for? I guess on some level I am not surprised that the tools of dealing with crucial conversation can be learned. I have also seen this exhibited in the real world for example, chapter two discussed that the "best" were not always managers. My father has had the ability to deal with crucial conversation head on in any instance I can think of, were they all dealt with appropriately maybe not but, I can always remember wanting to give my ideas and share thoughts. In the instance he very well may dismiss my idea for another one but the open floor of communication was there to generate synergy. Identification of these patterns in all applications of our life can ultimately apply the skills of becoming a better communicator but, to also develop better relationships around you.

Is staying focused on what you really want possible? Is this book just that another "it" book or do the chapters and ideas have merit? Start with the heart is focusing on starting from within for direct control you are the only one that has immediate control of your words and actions. In order to focus on what you really want quantify what it really is – does my behavior exhibit the results I am looking for? Once identified remove the sucker's choice from your train of thought, this or that choice. Dip deeper into what you really are focused on and make appropriate action by picking your battles and knowing when to express your opinion.

Knowing when to pick your battles? When do I tell people what I really think without...
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