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Managing Crucial
Conversations: Talking when
stakes are high
Protima Sharma,
PeopleWiz Consulting
June 2017
Based on the book Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler
• https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkSwXL3cGU
g
Video: Please pass the butter
your footer
2
• Opinions vary: You're talking with your boss about a possible promotion. She thinks you're not
ready; you think you are.
• Stakes are high: You're in a meeting with four coworkers and you're trying to pick a new marketing
strategy. You've got to do something different or your company isn't going to hit its annual goals.
• Emotions run strong: You have just completed the annual salary revision and given best possible
salary raise according to your ability to pay. Your highest paid employee walks in and resigns
because he feels the salary raise is poor and unjustified.
What are Crucial Conversations?
3
Discussions where stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions
run strong. These could be day-to-day occurrences that affect
lives, and in many cases, these are pivotal conversations whose
results may be extremely significant.
People generally choose to at least try to handle such situations as well as they can.
However most of the times they don’t do very well, for the following reasons:
• Physiologically, human beings are designed to handle stressful situations with fists and
feet, more than intelligence and attentiveness.
• Most of such situations spring up unexpectedly, and most of us can come up with only
a knee-jerk response to them because of the pressure.
The consequences of either avoiding or messing up these conversations can be severe
and can affect all aspects of life – personal and professional.
Why can’t we handle these conversations?
4
• Not to make a Fool’s choice: It’s a mistake to think that our only
options are tell the truth or keep a friend.
• When it comes to risky, controversial and emotional conversation,
skilled people find a way to get all relevant information(from
themselves and others) out in the open. They have a DIALOGUE.
• They create a pool of shared meaning.
• Dialogue skills are learnable.
What we would really like?
5
1. Get Unstuck:
• Spot the conversations that are keeping you stuck
• Critical questions: What conversations am I not holding or not holding well? Am I
holding the right crucial conversations?
• Find out your style under stress
• Silence –
• Masking ( Sugar coating, sarcasm).
• Avoiding (not addressing the real issue),
• Withdrawing (Pulling out of the conversation)
• Violence-
• Controlling ( Forcing someone to think your way)
“ We tried their product, but it was an absolute disaster. Everyone knows that they
are the worst”
Meaning: I have no facts, I just use hyperbole to get your attention.
• Labeling (“ Your ideas are always crazy. Anyone can see that my way is better”)
• Attacking You move from making a point to making the person suffer. Belittling.
Threatening. Self righteous comments.
Preparing for a Crucial Conversations
6
• Work on me first, Us second
• Remember that the only person that you can directly control is yourself.
• Focus on what you really want
• When you find yourself moving towards silence or violence, stop and pay attention
to your motives
• Ask yourself : “What are my motives? Am I looking for a solution or trying to win
an argument?”
• Then, clarify what you really want. Ask yourself” What do I want for myself? For
others? For the relationship?’
• And finally , ask : “ How would I behave if this were what I really wanted?”
• Refuse the Fool’s Choice.
• Watch yourself , see if you are telling yourself to choose between peace and
harmony, winning and losing.
• Look for “And”
• Think clearly about what you don’t want. Think of options that bring you to
dialogue.
2. Start with your Heart
7
• Building Safety
• When its safe, you can say anything. Nothing kills meaning dialogue like fear
• People rarely become defensive because of what you are saying. They become
defensive when they no longer feel safe. The problem is not always content of the
conversation but the condition of the conversation.
• When others feel unsafe they can get aggressive, or attack you or withdraw
completely.
• Establish Mutual purpose.
• Don’t ignore safety risk. Look for safety violations. Don’t let them lead you astray.
• Don’t fix safety risk the wrong way ( watering down the message, making excuses,
dressing up the content)
• Don’t play games. Change gears. Step out, take a break. Establish Mutual Purpose.
Start again.
• Mutual Respect: Do others believe that I respect them?
3. Make it Safe
8
• Apologize when appropriate.
• Suspend your belief that your choice is the best and only one and that you wont
be happy until you get what you want.
• Say you are sorry for sounding rude or hurtful. Apologize for when you messed
up.
• Contrast to fix any misunderstanding. Tell them what you don’t mean.
Then explain what you do.
• Provide context, manage proportion
• When you are in the middle of a conversation, sometime your words appear
bigger or worse than you intend.
• “ I don’t want you to think…….”
• “ I do want ……..”
Make it safe
9
See &
Hear
Tell a
story
Feel Act
4. Master Your Stories: How to stay in Dialogue when
you are angry, scared or hurt.
10
The Path to action
Stories provide our rationale for what’s going on - Why? Judging! What?.
We do it without realizing it.
Watch for these 3 clever stories – “ Victim- Its not my fault”, “Villain- Its all your
fault”, “ Helpless- there is nothing else that I can do”
• Retrace your path
• Notice your behavior- are you moving away from dialogue?
• Am I in some form of Silence or Violence? What am I feeling?
• Analyze your stories
• Get back to the facts. Abandon your absolutely certainty by
distinguishing between hard facts and your invented story.
• Tell the rest of your story- Create a useful story
• Am I adding to the problem?
• Why would a rational person do what he/she is doing? Humanize other.
• What do I really want?
• What should I do or say to achieve this result?
Master your stories
11
• How do we prepare for a crucial conversation
1. Get unstuck & Know you style under duress
2. Start with your heart
3. Make it safe
4. Master your stories
Summary
12
• Share your facts. Facts are least controversial. Safe beginning, most persuasive. Least
insulting
• Tell your story. Share your conclusion and judgment. Ensure its is rational, reasonable
and decent. Don’t wait too late for the conclusions to pile on. Look for safety problems.
Use contrasting.
• Talk tentatively but don’t be a wimp. Soften the message but don’t dilute it.
• Too soft: “ This is probably stupid but…
• Too Hard: “How come you have no respect for anyone’s time?’
• Just Right : “ Its starting to look as if you expect others to always pitch in for your
work. Is that right?”
• Ask for others path. Blend confidence with humility. Ask for their fact and stories. Be
open to learn something new. Be willing to expand or reshape your opinions
• Encourage testing. Invite opposing views by making is safe, Mean it. Play devils’
advocate. Do it till your motive is obvious.
5. STATE your Path: Be persuasive not abrasive
13
• Be Sincere
• Be Curious & stay curious
• Be patient
• Encourage to retrace their path- See & hear, Story, Feel, Act
• Break the cycle
• Ask – When? How? What?
• “What’s going on?”
• “I’d really like to hear your opinion on this”
• “Please let me know if you see it differently”
• “Don’t worry about hurting my feelings, I really want to hear your thoughts”
• Mirroring – When someone goes silent. “ You say you are ok, but you seem upset
from your tone. “
• Paraphrase “Lets see if I have got this right. Your are upset because I have voiced
my concern about your punctuality. And this seem controlling and hierarchical to
you”. Remain calm, collected, use an even tone.
6. Explore Others’ Path: How to listen
14
• Dialogue is not decision making.
• But you need decisions on next steps to conclude a meaningful crucial
conversation
• Finish Clearly
• Determine who does what by when. Make the deliverables crystal
clear. Set a follow up time. Record the commitments and the follow
up. Finally hold people accountable to their promises.
7. Move to Action
15
• State your path – Fact, Story, Talk tentatively,
encourage testing
• Explore other’s path- Listen, Ask, Mirror,
Paraphrase
• Move to action
Summary
16
• https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyL7TG6SzDU
Can you spot the CC principles in this conversation?
your footer
17

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Crucial conversations: Talking when stakes are high

  • 1. Managing Crucial Conversations: Talking when stakes are high Protima Sharma, PeopleWiz Consulting June 2017 Based on the book Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler
  • 3. • Opinions vary: You're talking with your boss about a possible promotion. She thinks you're not ready; you think you are. • Stakes are high: You're in a meeting with four coworkers and you're trying to pick a new marketing strategy. You've got to do something different or your company isn't going to hit its annual goals. • Emotions run strong: You have just completed the annual salary revision and given best possible salary raise according to your ability to pay. Your highest paid employee walks in and resigns because he feels the salary raise is poor and unjustified. What are Crucial Conversations? 3 Discussions where stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong. These could be day-to-day occurrences that affect lives, and in many cases, these are pivotal conversations whose results may be extremely significant.
  • 4. People generally choose to at least try to handle such situations as well as they can. However most of the times they don’t do very well, for the following reasons: • Physiologically, human beings are designed to handle stressful situations with fists and feet, more than intelligence and attentiveness. • Most of such situations spring up unexpectedly, and most of us can come up with only a knee-jerk response to them because of the pressure. The consequences of either avoiding or messing up these conversations can be severe and can affect all aspects of life – personal and professional. Why can’t we handle these conversations? 4
  • 5. • Not to make a Fool’s choice: It’s a mistake to think that our only options are tell the truth or keep a friend. • When it comes to risky, controversial and emotional conversation, skilled people find a way to get all relevant information(from themselves and others) out in the open. They have a DIALOGUE. • They create a pool of shared meaning. • Dialogue skills are learnable. What we would really like? 5
  • 6. 1. Get Unstuck: • Spot the conversations that are keeping you stuck • Critical questions: What conversations am I not holding or not holding well? Am I holding the right crucial conversations? • Find out your style under stress • Silence – • Masking ( Sugar coating, sarcasm). • Avoiding (not addressing the real issue), • Withdrawing (Pulling out of the conversation) • Violence- • Controlling ( Forcing someone to think your way) “ We tried their product, but it was an absolute disaster. Everyone knows that they are the worst” Meaning: I have no facts, I just use hyperbole to get your attention. • Labeling (“ Your ideas are always crazy. Anyone can see that my way is better”) • Attacking You move from making a point to making the person suffer. Belittling. Threatening. Self righteous comments. Preparing for a Crucial Conversations 6
  • 7. • Work on me first, Us second • Remember that the only person that you can directly control is yourself. • Focus on what you really want • When you find yourself moving towards silence or violence, stop and pay attention to your motives • Ask yourself : “What are my motives? Am I looking for a solution or trying to win an argument?” • Then, clarify what you really want. Ask yourself” What do I want for myself? For others? For the relationship?’ • And finally , ask : “ How would I behave if this were what I really wanted?” • Refuse the Fool’s Choice. • Watch yourself , see if you are telling yourself to choose between peace and harmony, winning and losing. • Look for “And” • Think clearly about what you don’t want. Think of options that bring you to dialogue. 2. Start with your Heart 7
  • 8. • Building Safety • When its safe, you can say anything. Nothing kills meaning dialogue like fear • People rarely become defensive because of what you are saying. They become defensive when they no longer feel safe. The problem is not always content of the conversation but the condition of the conversation. • When others feel unsafe they can get aggressive, or attack you or withdraw completely. • Establish Mutual purpose. • Don’t ignore safety risk. Look for safety violations. Don’t let them lead you astray. • Don’t fix safety risk the wrong way ( watering down the message, making excuses, dressing up the content) • Don’t play games. Change gears. Step out, take a break. Establish Mutual Purpose. Start again. • Mutual Respect: Do others believe that I respect them? 3. Make it Safe 8
  • 9. • Apologize when appropriate. • Suspend your belief that your choice is the best and only one and that you wont be happy until you get what you want. • Say you are sorry for sounding rude or hurtful. Apologize for when you messed up. • Contrast to fix any misunderstanding. Tell them what you don’t mean. Then explain what you do. • Provide context, manage proportion • When you are in the middle of a conversation, sometime your words appear bigger or worse than you intend. • “ I don’t want you to think…….” • “ I do want ……..” Make it safe 9
  • 10. See & Hear Tell a story Feel Act 4. Master Your Stories: How to stay in Dialogue when you are angry, scared or hurt. 10 The Path to action Stories provide our rationale for what’s going on - Why? Judging! What?. We do it without realizing it. Watch for these 3 clever stories – “ Victim- Its not my fault”, “Villain- Its all your fault”, “ Helpless- there is nothing else that I can do”
  • 11. • Retrace your path • Notice your behavior- are you moving away from dialogue? • Am I in some form of Silence or Violence? What am I feeling? • Analyze your stories • Get back to the facts. Abandon your absolutely certainty by distinguishing between hard facts and your invented story. • Tell the rest of your story- Create a useful story • Am I adding to the problem? • Why would a rational person do what he/she is doing? Humanize other. • What do I really want? • What should I do or say to achieve this result? Master your stories 11
  • 12. • How do we prepare for a crucial conversation 1. Get unstuck & Know you style under duress 2. Start with your heart 3. Make it safe 4. Master your stories Summary 12
  • 13. • Share your facts. Facts are least controversial. Safe beginning, most persuasive. Least insulting • Tell your story. Share your conclusion and judgment. Ensure its is rational, reasonable and decent. Don’t wait too late for the conclusions to pile on. Look for safety problems. Use contrasting. • Talk tentatively but don’t be a wimp. Soften the message but don’t dilute it. • Too soft: “ This is probably stupid but… • Too Hard: “How come you have no respect for anyone’s time?’ • Just Right : “ Its starting to look as if you expect others to always pitch in for your work. Is that right?” • Ask for others path. Blend confidence with humility. Ask for their fact and stories. Be open to learn something new. Be willing to expand or reshape your opinions • Encourage testing. Invite opposing views by making is safe, Mean it. Play devils’ advocate. Do it till your motive is obvious. 5. STATE your Path: Be persuasive not abrasive 13
  • 14. • Be Sincere • Be Curious & stay curious • Be patient • Encourage to retrace their path- See & hear, Story, Feel, Act • Break the cycle • Ask – When? How? What? • “What’s going on?” • “I’d really like to hear your opinion on this” • “Please let me know if you see it differently” • “Don’t worry about hurting my feelings, I really want to hear your thoughts” • Mirroring – When someone goes silent. “ You say you are ok, but you seem upset from your tone. “ • Paraphrase “Lets see if I have got this right. Your are upset because I have voiced my concern about your punctuality. And this seem controlling and hierarchical to you”. Remain calm, collected, use an even tone. 6. Explore Others’ Path: How to listen 14
  • 15. • Dialogue is not decision making. • But you need decisions on next steps to conclude a meaningful crucial conversation • Finish Clearly • Determine who does what by when. Make the deliverables crystal clear. Set a follow up time. Record the commitments and the follow up. Finally hold people accountable to their promises. 7. Move to Action 15
  • 16. • State your path – Fact, Story, Talk tentatively, encourage testing • Explore other’s path- Listen, Ask, Mirror, Paraphrase • Move to action Summary 16
  • 17. • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyL7TG6SzDU Can you spot the CC principles in this conversation? your footer 17