Crucial Conversations Paper

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Crucial Conversations

Team 4: Jay Dave, Renee Kelley, Guillaume Lardeux, Matt Wieringa, Matt Wood
Leadership Communication, EMBA 200C -- 20 August 2015

This learning module was inspired by the bestselling book Crucial Conversations (2012), written by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillian, and Al Switzler. The following learning modules have been created independently based on themes from the book.

What is common in each of the following scenarios: giving the boss feedback about his/her behavior, discussing problems about physical intimacy with your spouse, and dealing with a rebellious teen? The similarity is that in each of these scenarios: the stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong. In short, these are crucial conversations. As we do our best to deal with these crucial conversations, we often toggle between two ends of a rather unhealthy continuum. We often hold things inside by going silent until we can take it no longer - and then we burst out by attacking others’ ideas and feelings. We move between silence and violence; we either don’t handle the conversation or don’t handle
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Consider this scenario: You’re working on a routine report at work and your boss checks up on you three times in one hour, offering suggestions. You decide that your boss is questioning your capabilities and you hold a grudge against your boss. In such situations we make two grave mistakes. The first grave mistake is that we assume our actions are based on how we are made to feel. In reality is how we feel is entirely in our hands. Just after we observe what others do and just before we feel some emotion about it, we tell ourselves a story. We add a motive to what we just observed, then we add a judgement for that motive - is that good or bad, and finally based on these thoughts our body responds with an emotion. This is our path to

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