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Fierce Conversations

Fierce Conversations



Fierce Conversations is a presentation created for a Taylor University MBA course. These "fierce conversations" are the conversations that are hard but necessary, direct but gentle, and they are ...

Fierce Conversations is a presentation created for a Taylor University MBA course. These "fierce conversations" are the conversations that are hard but necessary, direct but gentle, and they are crucial to healthy, productive relationships focused on high performance.

This presentation is based on the book of the same title by Susan Scott.



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    Fierce Conversations Fierce Conversations Presentation Transcript

    • Conversations that Can Change the Trajectory of a Career, a Business, a Relationship, or a Life.
    •  How did you go bankrupt? Gradually then suddenly - Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises  “We never addressed the real issue, never came to terms with reality” OR “we never stated our needs or told each other what we were really thinking”  Fierce: “robust, intense, strong, powerful, passionate, unbridled, eager, uncurbed, untamed”
    •  Master the courage to interrogate reality  Make it real  Be here, prepared to be nowhere else  Tackle your toughest challenge today  Obey your instincts  Take responsibility for your emotional wake  Let silence do the heavy lifting
    •  “Life is curly, don’t try to straighten it out”  What has changed since we last met?  The Corporate Nod  Most people want to know the truth, even if it is unpalatable  There is something within us that responds deeply to people that level with us
    •  Resisting or disallowing the exploration of realities costs time, money, energy and emotion cleaning up the aftermath of plans quietly but effectively torpedoed by individuals who resent the fact that their experience, opinions and strongly held beliefs are apparently of little interest to the organization  “Lethal neutrality and immobility” Charles Baxter
    •  “if you’re drilling for water, it’s better to drill one, hundred-foot well than one hundred, one-foot wells” 1. Interrogate reality 2. Provoke learning 3. Tackle tough challenges 4. Enrich relationships
    • “Nothing is more dangerous than an idea, when it’s the only one you have” - Emile Chartier 1. Make a proposal 2. Check for understanding 3. Check for agreement
    •  “We are out there on the cutting edge of the uncontroversial” - Martin Amis  Fierce Conversation I need to have ○ Person & Topic 1. Identify your most pressing issue  The issue that I most need to resolve is: 2. Clarify the issue  What is going on? How long? How bad? 3. Determine the current impact
    • 4. Determine the future implications 5. Examine your personal contribution to this issue 6. Describe the ideal outcome 7. Commit to action
    • “ There is a profound difference between having a title and being someone who people commit to at the deepest level. If we wish to accomplish great things in our organizations then we must come to terms with a basic human need: We must recognize that humans share a universal longing to being known…. When our conversations disregard this basic need, our lives can seem like an ongoing, exhaustive struggle to influence others to do what we want them to do, to rise to their potential, to accomplish the goals of the organization. We persuade, cajole, manipulate and issue directives. Nothing changes. Deadlines are missed. The scenery is boring. People and relationships are on autopilot.”
    •  Soft Eyes and Ears  How Aren’t You ○ Hearing people’s words is only the beginning  “What is the most important thing you and I should be talking about?”  Enriching the relationship: One of the greatest gifts you can give another is the purity of your attention. Not your advice! Hold your ideas until your partner has had the opportunity to formulate their own solutions
    • 1. Doing most of the talking 2. Taking the problem away from someone 3. Not inquiring about feelings 4. Delivering unclear: messages, coaching and instructions 5. Canceling the meeting 6. Allowing interruptions 7. Running out of time 8. Assuming your one on ones are effective
    • SIXTY SECONDS 1. Name the issue 2. Select a specific example that illustrates the behavior or situation you want changed 3. Describe your emotions about this issue 4. Clarify what is at stake 5. Identify your contribution to the problem 6. Indicate your wish to resolve the issue 7. Invite your partner to respond
    •  Suggested format  Additional Good One on One questions
    • “Everyone’s in-basket and out-basket are full but I’m convinced we’re avoiding the too hard basket” “In my work with leaders and their teams, I’ve discovered that a universal talent is the ability to avoid difficult conversations” - Susan Scott  Avoid “Mole Whacking”
    •  Require that issue is well prepared before bringing to team  Create and use an issue preparation form  Provide written copy of issue form to team members prior to meeting  After presentation, allow time for clarifying questions  Move on to solutions once team members are satisfied real issue has been identified
    •  Make sure everyone has a chance to speak  Wrap discussion by having everyone give a one sentence recommendation. “If I were you…”  Ask member with the issue, “What did you hear?”  Ask “What actions are you committed to taking and when will you take them?”  Follow Up