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Learn From Leaders: Crucial Conversations

Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High” is one of those books I should have read early in my career. The authors focus on how to have difficult conversations at work or in our personal lives. Joseph Grenny and Ron McMillan tell us how we can prepare for high stakes situations and how to transform anger and hurt feelings into powerful dialogue. They give us practical tips on how you can improve your skills as a leader and communicator.

Here are some of my key takeaways: 

• Almost all problems in our organizations or in our personal lives are related to crucial conversations. We are either choosing to not have those conversations or not doing them well. 

• One of the biggest mistakes we make during crucial conversations is thinking that we have to choose between telling the truth and keeping our friends. 

• We are quick to place blame when we become upset. It’s helpful to understand the motives of the other person in these instances. 

• People become defensive because they ‘no longer feel safe’ in conversations. 

• You will be more successful if you make it safe and add to the other persons meaning even with controversial ideas. 

• Skilled people ‘start with heart.’ They start discussions with the right motives and remain focused. 

• Remember that the only person you can directly control is yourself. Focus on what you really Want  

• When you find yourself moving toward silence or violence, stop and pay attention to your motives. 

• Ask yourself: “What does my behavior tell me about what my motives are?” Then, clarify what you really want. Ask yourself: “What do I want for myself? For others? For the relationship?”  

• And finally, ask: “How would I behave if this were what I really wanted?” Refuse the fool’s choice . 

Great advice on every page with helpful summaries at the end of every chapter. 


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