I just finished a book on communication called "Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking with Stakes are High." The organization also has a website.
My wife has been encouraging me to read this book (which her mother recommended to her). To be honest, the title didn’t excite me. I expected a snoozer. I was SO wrong.
The book challenged me by capturing and expanding, in a systematic way, some of the communications philosophies & skills that I have stumbled over, studied out, experimented with, & refined over the years on-the-job. And whether the authors realize it or not, they are putting together Biblical principles in a format people can easily apply.
Here are a few excerpts:
- "One study of 500 stunningly productive organizations revealed that peak performance had absolutely nothing to do with [systems]. In fact, half of the highflyers had almost no formal performance management process. It all comes down to how people handle crucial conversations." (pp.10-11)
- "When someone violates a procedure or otherwise acts in an unsafe way, the first person to see a problem, regardless of his or her position, steps up & holds a crucial conversation." (p.11)
- "When it comes to risky, controversial, & emotional conversations, skilled people find a way to get all relevant information (from themselves & others) out in the open…into the Pool of Shared Meaning." (p.20)
- "As people begin to feel unsafe, they start down 1 of 2 unhealthy paths. They move either to silence (withholding meaning from the pool) or to violence (trying to force meaning in the pool)." (p.51-52)
- "Building more safety is to understand which of the 2 conditions of safety is at risk. Each requires a different solution. (1) Mutual purpose. (2) Mutual respect." (p.68)
- "Don’t allow people to think that dialogue is decision making…To avoid violated expectations…separate dialogue from decision making. Make it clear how decisions will be made." (p.163)
- "Most people make progress…by applying 2 of the main principles in this book: (1) Learn to look. (2) Make it safe." (pp.180-181)
How strongly am I recommending this book?
- I immediately put it on my "Recommended Reading" list
- I started using the lingo today
- I taught a mini-version in our staff meeting yesterday
- I’m buying it for our pastors & staff
- I’m taking our staff through it together as a team
If you wants to grow in the area of communication from the workplace to the home front…from the conference room to the bedroom…then buy this book!