Nicholas's Reviews > Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High

Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson
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's review
Oct 23, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: lifestyle, programming

** spoiler alert ** Needs to be reread.


"When it comes to risky, controversial, and emotional conversations, skilled people find a way to get all relevant information (from themselves and others) out into the open."

"When people aren't involved, when they sit back quietly during touchy conversations, they're rarely committed to the final decision. Since their ideas remain in their heads and their opinions never make it into the pool, they end up quietly criticizing and passively resisting. Worse still, when others force their ideas into the pool, people have a harder time accepting the information. They may say they're on board, but then they walk away and follow through halfheartedly...The time you spend up front establishing a shared pool of meaning is more than paid for by faster, more committed action later on...Some people would have agreed to move; others would have dragged their feet. Some would have held heated discussions in the hallways. Others would have said nothing and then quietly fought the plan. More likely than not, the team would have been forced to meet again, discuss again, and decide again - since only one person favored the decision and the decision affected everyone."

"People who are best at dialog understand this simple fact and turn it into the principle "Work on me first." They realize that not only are they likely to benefit by improving their own approach, but also that they're the only person they can work on anyway. As much as others may need to change, or we may want them to change, the only person we can continually inspire, prod, and shape - with any degree of success - is the person in the mirror."

"Think about your own experience. Can you remember receiving really blistering feedback from someone at some point in your life, but in this instance you didn't become defensive? Instead, you absorbed the feedback. You reflected on it. You allowed it to influence you. If so, ask yourself why. Why in this instance were you able to absorb potentially threatening feedback so well? If you're like the rest of us, it's because you believed that the other person had your best interest in mind. In addition, you respected the other person's opinion. You felt safe receiving the feedback because you trusted the motives and ability of the other person. You didn't need to defend yourself from what was being said."

"Crucial conversations often go awry not because of the content of the conversation, but because others believe that the painful and pointed content means that you have malicious intent."

"Lord, help me forgive those who sin differently than I."

"Emotions don't settle upon you like a fog. They are not foisted upon you by others. No matter how comfortable it might make you feel saying it - others don't make you mad. You make you mad. You and only you create your emotions." (Is this true? If it's not then this is a really damaging thing to say. You blame yourself for something you can't control.)

"Turning victims into actors, villains into humans, and the helpless into the able."

"Our purpose for asking why a reasonable, rational, and decent person might be acting a certain way is not to excuse others for any bad things they may be doing. If they are, indeed, guilty, we'll have time to deal with that later. The purpose of the humanizing question is to deal with our own stories and emotions."

"With experience and maturity we learn to worry less about others' intent and more about the effect others' actions are having on us."

"When you begin with a complete disclaimer and do it in a tone that suggests you're consumed with doubt, you do the message a disservice. It's one thing to be humble and open. It's quite another to be clinically uncertain. Use language that says you're sharing an opinion, not language that says you're a nervous wreck."

"Don't cop out with a vote. When everyone cares a great deal about an issue and people are having trouble coming to a choice, don't stop and call for a vote. Votes should never replace patient analysis and healthy dialog. If you find yourself saying, "All right, we'll never agree so let's vote," you're copping out."

great outline on page 186.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
July 23, 2010 – Finished Reading
October 23, 2010 – Shelved
October 23, 2010 – Shelved as: lifestyle
October 23, 2010 – Shelved as: programming

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