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 with Chapter 3, Start With Heart.  This chapter begins to teach the reader “how” to dialog. The chapter is subtitled how to stay focused on what you really want. Start with heart means that we have to establish our goal before getting involved in a dialog. (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 with Chapter 2, titled Mastering Crucial Conversations: The Power of Dialogue. The chapter begins with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. that highlights the problem with staying silent. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”  (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…)

Today we begin the re-read of Crucial Conversations: Tools For Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition.  I am using the paperback version of the book (19th printing of the second edition) with its 248 pages long (18 pages of front matter).  This edition has two forewords, both by Stephen R Covey, a preface, acknowledgments, endnotes, an index, and most importantly 11 chapters.  My estimate for the completion of the read is 14 weeks (I assume I will miss a week due to family obligations). I have never read this book, so this will be a journey of discovery for me and perhaps some of you. The book was originally recommended to me last summer during a luncheon with Nancy Kastl and was validated in the poll for the next re-read.  (more…)

Book Cover

Read the book!

When I introduced the logistics of the re-read of Thinking Fast and Slow on April 20, 2019, I anticipated that we would complete in 42 weeks. Doing the math, we kicked the re-read off 294 days or 42 weeks. Applause, please!

I now have read this book twice.  It has influenced my practice both times I read it. Thinking Fast and Slow popularized many of the concepts that are now called behavioral economics and introduced me to cognitive biases. Over the years I have done several presentations on the impact of cognitive biases on process improvement, software development, and testing. Kahneman helped me to stop viewing behavior as the outcome of straight forward maximization equations and something that incorporated more human behaviors. Biases deeply influence how we react.  (more…)