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This is our last installment of our re-read of Crucial Conversations: Tools For Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition. I want to thank Nancy Kastl for the great suggestion and everyone that voted during the selection process. This is a useful book. Interestingly during a Heart of Agile get together this week a number of people recommended the book in the chat. I am glad I read it. Reading the book for the first time during the re-read process did add a bit of additional effort. I found that I had to skim the material more than I would have liked and probably missed some of the nuances.  (more…)

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We are completing the content of our Re-read of Crucial Conversations today by reviewing Chapter 11 and the Afterword.  

Chapter 11 is a summarization of the entire book.  The authors use two tools in this chapter. The first is a table to help the readers remember all of the techniques and the process laid out in the first 10 chapters.  The table begins on page 214 with principle one “Start With Your Heart” and ending on page 216 with principle seven “Moved To Action.” If this were a workbook, I would have expected this table to be on a removable page for use during crucial conversations.  I made myself a cheat sheet that I keep just out of camera sight for use in remote meetings. (more…)

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The subtitle for this chapter of Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, Switzler is ‘Advice for tough cases.’ Rather than enumerating the different tough cases (and the authors run through a bunch), I want to point out that this is a chapter I think I will return to in the future.  In my considered opinion nothing ever goes perfectly to plan. All conversations are a mixture of things that you’ve run through your head to prepare and parts that are off-script. Having a wide range of additional tactics for hard issues makes it easier to approach crucial conversations with confidence. (more…)

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This week we tackle Chapter 9 of Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, Switzler. titled Move To Action. The subtitle is a fair summary of the ideas in the chapter: how to turn crucial conversations into action and results.   (more…)

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Today we tackle Chapter 8 of Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, Switzler. Arguably the feel of this re-read to date has had a bit of book report feel. Since this is a first read of the book for me, consuming what I have read has tended to be a reflection of how I have been consuming the concepts. We have approximately 3 weeks left, do you have ideas for the next book?   (more…)

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We worked on getting ready to talk, now it is time to get into the meat of a dialogue. Chapter 7 of Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, Switzler, is where the rubber hits the road. In many circumstances, this is actually where the wheels actually come off!  The authors present five skills for talking when what you have to say could make others feel defensive. (more…)

While I was preparing for this week’s installment of Re-read Saturday, I got into a “discussion” with my wife about people and organizations profiteering during the COVID-19 disaster. When I began to notice I was becoming heated, I realized that this week’s chapter was an appropriate touchpoint to get the dialogue back on track. Chapter 6 of Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, Switzler is about how to gain control of your emotions during crucial conversations and therefore gain control of the conversation. Keeping your emotions under control allows you to think and use all of the tools at your disposal to stay in a constructive dialogue. (more…)

Today we tackle Chapter 5, Make It Safe – How to Make It Safe to Talk About Almost Anythingof Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, Switzler.  This is the next step in the journey to help the reader participate and guide crucial conversations into dialogues by ensuring that the interaction is safe. The chapter uses an example of a husband and wife’s conversation to present a structure that includes entry and continuation criteria. The example is not a high point of the chapter for me. However, the idea of safety and how to create that safety is an important part of the chapter. One somewhat random point I did take away from the example was the use of sarcasm as a form of silence. Sarcasm does not add to the pool of information and shuts people down. Relatively early in my career, I fell in love with the use of sarcasm. A boss of mine, Dave Campbel,l pointed out that sarcasm was easy to misinterpret and could backfire. I learned my lesson but had never connected understood sarcasm to be a form of silence during a dialogue.    (more…)

This week we focus on Chapter 4 of Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, Switzler. The chapter is titled, Learn to Look: How To Notice When Safety Is At Risk.

Chapter 4 begins with an example of a crucial conversation gone wrong. The protagonist in the example does not see the turning point, nor does he understand how things went so wrong so quickly. Later two of his colleagues clue him in. The goal of the story is to point out that recognizing inflection points in dialogs and how you react to them is important in not ending up with a mess.  (more…)

This week we continue our re-read of Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, Switzler. Chapter 1 of Crucial Conversations provides the reader with a definition of a crucial conversation for the book, hints to aid in recognizing this form of communication, and provides a rationale for why we should care. (more…)