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Crucial Conversations

It is often said that the concepts taught in Transformational Leadership™ are deceptively simple but not easy. From my own experience, you master what you need for your current circumstances. The great thing about life is that unless you live under rock there is always a new event that requires a new bubble, a deeper comprehension, a change. Recently, I was challenged by a series of conversations—it seemed like we couldn’t get past ourselves to get to the heart of the matter and find a resolution, causing me to dig deeper for a new perspective, greater skills, more wisdom (and maybe some bubble jumping), to bring me to a new paradigm.

As I was looking for answers I was compelled to read the book Crucial Conversation by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan and Switzler, with some associates. Crucial conversations have the power to significantly impact an individual’s future profoundly. They occur everywhere—work, home, in the community—and having the ability to recognize when they occur and bring safety back into the environment is important. Our ability to navigate these conversations can make or break our relationships, our careers, our happiness, and the happiness of those around us.

Critical conversations usually have three elements to them. First, there is the situation and your opinion surrounding it. Secondly, there is the actual conversation and its impact on the future. And, lastly, heightened passion or emotion is displayed.

Take a look at some of the key components of Crucial Conversation, coupled with Transformational Leadership tools. I trust it will encourage you or inspire you to take your leadership to another level:

Stay engaged and offer meaningful dialog.

  • There is your truth, their truth, and the actual truth.

  • Own your story—what is real, how has your identity/hippocampus, core beliefs been involved in creating you story? (TFA, T-Charts, Core Beliefs)

Understand others points of view—try to understand their story.

  • Use SLOWER Listening*—ask open-ended questions.

  • Reserve judgment, be curious, don’t get offended.

  • Seek to understand not just the words, but the emotions behind the words. (TFA, SLOWER Listening)

  • Talk tentatively—“I could be wrong, but this is how I saw the situation. How do you see it?” (How to Approach One Another)

  • Stay curious.

  • Leave your anger at the door. (Causes of Anger—Results of Anger)

  • Make the conversation safe for the others and yourself. (How to Deal with an Angry Person, 5 Levels of a Team)

Commit to and find the mutual win.

  • What is a vision for the future you can agree on? (VSTEELE)

  • How can you serve one another—humble yourselves one to another? (Qualities and Skills of a Leader)

  • Leave room for forgiveness. (How to Approach One Another)

  • Understand that you each can be wrong. (6-Step Apology)

  • Stay at the table long enough to work through to a solution you can agree on. (VSTEELE and LEAD)

*SLOWER Listening: Square up, Lean in, ask Open-ended questions, be Willing to engage, make Eye contact, and Relax, respond reframe when necessary.

I trust as you think about a conflict in your life you will see the wisdom to pursue truth and peace with one another. Food for thought: Zechariah 8:16-17, 19 says, “‘These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; do not plot evil against each other, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this,’ declares the Lord… ‘Therefore love truth and peace.’”

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