Crucial Conversations™ Training Suite
One of the greatest challenges we face at work is…others. No matter our field of expertise, we’re required to work with experts across our organization, not to mention customers. Day in and day out, we must interface with others. Lots of others. Opinionated others. Faulted others. And we’re not alone in finding frustration with others. Nearly everyone can relate to the challenge of attempting to secure results while working with other human beings.
Research over the past thirty years has attempted to solve this very challenge. Researchers have found that the moments that make the biggest difference in our effectiveness are situations where we have to communicate with one or more people. Specifically, the way we behave in the following two crucial moments has a profound effect on our success:
Teach individuals how to speak their minds during a crucial conversation, aim those conversations at the variables you want to affect, and then watch as an increase in dialogue directly impacts results. Create alignment and agreement by fostering open dialogue around high-stakes, emotional, or risky topics—at all levels of your organization.
The crucial conversations skills for engaging in healthy dialogue include:
Start with Heart: Learn to focus on what you really want—rather than shifting to unhealthy emotional reactions such as trying to win others over to your view, discrediting others, or even causing them grief.
Master My Stories: Gain control over your emotions by cutting off disappointment, anger, and fear at the source.
STATE My Path: Reduce defensiveness by starting with facts and only tentatively sharing conclusions.
Learn to Look: Spot when either you or others are slipping into either silence or violence and, as a result, putting safety at risk and starving the pool of shared meaning.
Make It Safe: Learn to dispel misunderstanding and distrust by clarifying misunderstood motives and establishing mutual purpose.
Explore Others’ Paths: Turn attacking into dialogue by identifying and responding to others’ unhealthy conclusions.
Identify and resolve performance gaps, strengthen accountability, eliminate inconsistency, and reduce resentment. When a cultural norm develops that allows people to raise concerns with those beside, above, and below them on the org. chart, problems are solved routinely and quickly, and a pervasive sense of empowerment and responsibility for results prevails. Even when problems happen, the sense of personal responsibility that accompanies a culture where anyone can hold anyone else accountable drives a focus on learning rather than blame. This focus accelerates the development of collective competence, dramatically improving execution and facilitating innovation.
The skills for enhancing accountability, improving performance, and ensuring execution include:
Describe the Gap: Share what was expected versus what was observed and ask helpful questions that invite others to communicate his or her perspective.
Make It Safe: Learn how to take steps to rebuild safety and return to dialogue, and to talk about almost anything—without silence and violence.
Diagnose the Underlying Cause: Understand what barriers are causing the gap in expectations. Is it motivation, ability, or both? Once you understand the barriers, use the Six Sources of Influence™ to see what’s driving the gap.
Make it Easy: Learn to clearly understand and communicate obstacles, explore new ideas, and help others brainstorm ways to overcome ability barriers. Consider personal, social, and structural solutions that could improve one’s ability.
Make it Motivating: Motivate others by identifying natural consequences and making invisible consequences more visible. Explore all three sources of motivation—personal, social, and structural.
With both skill sets, people know how to surface the best ideas, make the highest-quality decisions, and handle tough or persistent gaps in performance and expectations.
Crucial Conversations Suite Workshop Resources
- Click here to view a 3-minute video about Crucial Conversations.
- Click here to view a 3-minute video about Crucial Accountability.
- Click here to see the workshop details.
- Click here to read chapter 1 of Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High.
- Click here to read chapter 1 of Crucial Accountability: Tools for Resolving Violated Expectations, Broken Commitments, and Bad Behavior.
- Click here to read a white paper about the Crucial Conversations Skills Training Suite.