Every once in a while, I’d like to share some reviews of key books that I’ve read so far in my career that have been particularly useful. For my first review, I’d like to reflect upon Crucial Conversations: Tools For Talking When Stakes Are High – by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler and Steven Covey.

This book has been really key for me in my career thus far (although I still read it cover-to-cover for a refresher). Having a former position as a Master Black Belt, and now as a manager, now more than ever it’s been important to work on my communication skills in difficult situations. In Six Sigma, we are all change agents of some type or another, so there are always going to be people that resist change or that want to run interference to making progress. Most likely you have found yourself in a position to have a crucial conversation with these people.Maybe this book can help.

First, this book is copyrighted 2002, so it has been on the market a while – but –  the information contained is timeless. The book starts by describing what a crucial conversation is – basically a difficult discussion with the potential for emotion.  After this introduction, the first few chapters afterword describe the mechanics and psychology about emotions and dialog. I was really shocked at some of the inner workings on how discussions become heated while going through these middle chapters (like I said before, I use some of this material as a critical reference sometimes). Around chapter 9 or 10, the book moves into practical application of the process of constructive dialog, and in chapter 11, some ’what if’ scenarios are presented, which I find very useful to refer to sometimes.

I haven’t given any real detail regarding book content in this post, but since I have a few crucial conversations coming up myself, I figured I’d share this gem with you. It’s a simple read, and I really believe you’ll get a lot out of the book.

Here’s an Amazon link

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