Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High

by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler

Order on Amazon

Our Main Take-Away:

Leadership, at its core, is a people business. The conversations and interactions with those we lead have a great deal to do with the ultimate success of our business or organization. Crucial Conversations is considered by many to be the most relevant and applicable work on successful and effective interpersonal communication strategies. Knowing that “how” we as leaders communicate can mean as much or more than “what” it is we are attempting to impart; Crucial Conversations is a must-read for leaders at any stage in their career.

Reasons to Read:

A reader would naturally expect to find the material contained within a leadership book to be applicable. The very best thing about Crucial Conversations is that the content of this volume is not an abstract philosophy for communication, it is exceptional in its relevance and applicability. In the midst of the challenging conversations that take place each day in the workplace, in the home, and with other important persons in our lives, conflict is often perceived to be inherent. The perception that someone will “win” an argument or heated interaction and someone will “lose” is challenged by the authors.

The seven key principles of the book layout the basis for difficult conversations and how these can become positive and successful. Arriving at a positive outcome, accomplishing the needed purpose, and preserving and ultimately strengthening the relationship with the other person involved, is where Crucial Conversations shines. Key points made by the authors are that success in future conversation begins with understanding oneself and searching for common purposes which will allow for difficult interactions to conclude with a positive outcome for both parties.

• Start with the Heart
• Learn to Look
• Make it Safe
• Master my stories
• State my Path
• Explore others’ Paths
• Move to Action

Each principle is explained in a manner that the reader can easily digest. Strategies for communication such as “Stop and Re-focus” and “Establishing Mutual Purpose” arm the reader with tools that are not only helpful, they serve as guides during the moments when conversations can take unexpected turns. The emphasis that the authors place on preparing in advance and “game planning” a successful approach to a difficult conversation underscores an important premise of the book. Challenging conversations that are brought to a successful outcome for all involved, allow everyone to move forward in a place of safety, support, and productivity.

The book Crucial Conversations is accompanied by a training seminar which is highly complementary to the volume. This is another book that the reader will find useful, both as a guide, and when re-reading it again. The principles and content of the book have proven to be exceptionally helpful to leaders worldwide.

Amazon Summary:

The New York Times bestseller that changed the way millions communicate

“[Crucial Conversations] draws our attention to those defining moments that literally shape our lives, our relationships, and our world. . . . This book deserves to take its place as one of the key thought leadership contributions of our time.”
―from the Foreword by Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

“The quality of your life comes out of the quality of your dialogues and conversations. Here’s how to instantly uplift your crucial conversations.”
―Mark Victor Hansen, cocreator of the #1 New York Times bestselling series Chicken Soup for the Soul®

“Coming in as the new CEO of an organization with many tenured employees, I have had many crucial conversations. Using Crucial Conversations as my playbook during this time was paramount in guiding me through each conversation.”
―Joanne K. Bryson, CAE, Executive Vice President and CEO, Oregon Medical Association

“Any book is powerful if you can relate to its content, is simple to understand, easy to apply, and is based on research. I have found all of these elements in Crucial Conversations. The narrative has a universal appeal and the strength to transcend cultures.”
Capt. Charanjit Lehal, AGM Training and Development, TataSky, India

“I was personally and professionally inspired by this book―and I’m not easily impressed.”
―Maureen Burke, Training Manager, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc.

About the Book:

Perhaps once a decade, a book comes along that transforms people’s lives in a very real, measurable way. This is one of them.

Crucial Conversations exploded onto the scene ten years ago and revolutionized the way people communicate when stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong. Since then, millions of people have learned how to hold effective crucial conversations and have dramatically improved their lives and careers thanks to the methods outlined in this book.

Now, the authors have revised their bestselling classic to provide even more ways to help you take the lead in any tough conversation:

New firsthand accounts of how these skills changed readers’ lives
New case studies showing how business leaders successfully applied these methods to achieve results
New links to videos teaching what to do and what to avoid during crucial conversations
New research findings offering fresh insights for applying the skills taught in the book
Crucial Conversations is filled with practical advice you can start using today:

Prepare for high-stakes conversations
Make it safe to talk about almost anything
Transform unpleasant emotions into powerful dialogue
Be persuasive, not abrasive
Crucial Conversations gets you past the hard parts of dialogue and helps you achieve relationships that are real, productive, and that will enrich your life and career.

Additional Recommended Reads