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Submitted by itilimp on


Title: Crucial Conversations: Tools for talking when stakes are high
Authors: Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education (30 Jun 2002)
ISBN-10: 0071401946
ISBN-13: 978-0071401944

No doubt I'm late to the fold on this one, but I found reference to this book whilst reading a report called '[url=]Silence Fails: The Five Crucial Conversations for Flawless Execution[/url]' and thought I'd give it a go as I was particularly impressed with the report.

Fundamentally the book teaches you how to:
1. Recognise a crucial conversation - "A discussion between two or more people where stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong."
2. How to analyse what is happening (Start with the Heart, Learn to look)
3. What to do about it (Make it Safe, Master my Stories, STATE My Path, Explore Others' Paths, Move To Action)
This is then summarised as a nice little 'dialogue model' at the end of the book (which makes much more sense if you've actually read the book first!).

The style of the authors is an easy going conversational one which makes for quick reading. However, it's one of those books that you absolutely have to absorb, practice, go back and re-read, practice, etc. Much of what they say resonates for me with that which Mark and Mike are teaching in this podcast series.

If, like me, sometimes you get in a mess in a crucial conversation - then get this book and practice what it preaches. I'm trying to :)

JoeFuture's picture


I took a 2 day version of this course last week and I highly recommend it. Especially if you're a MT fan, you're going to get a lot out of it by blending techniques (you can't ever have enough tools on your belt, can you?).

itilimp's picture
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Nice one, glad you got a lot out of the training. I'll be interested to hear how you've managed to put it into practice as we move forward.

They are currently investigating a 'Train the trainer' approach to Crucial Conversations where I work so I'm hopeful that this will supplement what I've learned from the book in the near future.

JoeFuture's picture

Have you tried the workbook and 6 disc audio set too? I've found it really helpful to listen to the discs while I drive around to keep practicing.

itilimp's picture
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No I don't have access to those currently. Hopefully I will do if the organisation I work for signs up :)

cwatine's picture
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I just read "Crucial conversation" and found it great.

There is especialy the chapter about decision making and follow up that is excellent (I think chapter 17). I found it was an excellent complement to Patrick Lencioni's books. It goes in better details into the team decision-making system.

It lists the 4 decision making methods (Command, Consult, Vote and Concensus) and rates their + and -.

Just this chapter justifies buying the book.

There is another book named "Crucial confrontations" ... Does any one know the difference ?