Crucial Conversations

Crucial conversation= conversation where the results can have a huge impact on you. IE promotion, relationships, etc.
The effects of crucial convos gone wrong can be life changing. Very important to get these right!
The key skill of effective people and leaders- the ability to appropriately handle politically and emotionally charged issues.
(^IE High performers know how to stand up to the boss without committing career suicide)
Its very easy to predict project failure- Members will not speak up at crucial moments(Or even speak up when they see mistakes!)
It is likely that your systems/processes are fine and its employee behavior that needs improvement.

CC’s require Absolute candor but with complete respect.
“The Fool’s Choice”= telling the truth or keeping a friend. You CAN do both!
You must get all relevant information out into the open. This is how intelligent decisions get made.
You must achieve Dialogue, and make it safe for everyone else in the room to follow in kind. Otherwise ppl will hold back and harm the decision making!
Also, if ppl cannot get their ideas into the pool, they silently hold their disagreement and do not carry out plans to the fullest.
If ppl present their ideas in the wrong ways(Attacking others, etc.) it also causes a negative response. You must know the right way!

Start with Heart:
If you can’t get yourself right, it will be hard to get dialogue right. Stop believing it is the other person who is stopping effective dialogue.
The only person you have real control over is yourself. The more control you exert over yourself, the more you can have over others.
Begin high risk discussions with the right motives and stay FOCUSED. You are after a goal. Is “winning” an argument the goal? NO!
What are you ACTING like you want?
Staying silent is almost just as big a problem.
Respond to criticism from team members and subordinates with gratitude. They are giving you a chance to answer a question many others are thinking.
Start a CC by asking yourself what you really want and what really matters. Ask yourself how you would behave best to get those things.
You must know what you want for yourself, the group, and the relationship, and know what you really DONT want (IE a useless argument).
There IS a way to say exactly what you need to solve a problem without turning the situation negative.

Learn to Look:
Watch the content of a conversation and the condition of it at all times.
If you see why things are going sideways, you can make changes to get back on track.
Notice when your brain is starting to dis-engage, and fix it.
You must have the other person’s best interest in mind (Or at least telegraph that verbally).
It is hardest to watch your own behavior but this is the most important thing to monitor!
Understand how you react under stress.

Make It Safe
Speak from a position of mutual purpose. Watch for signs that mutual purpose is at risk.
Dont be hostile or disrespectful.
Realize when ppl have misunderstood you. Repeat what you meant as clearly as possible, without hostility.
Always start a convo on a positive note before getting to the CC, if possible.
If you cannot find an immediate mutual purpose think of one on a larger scale. Go as big as you need to.
Ask why people want/do not want something.
Once you understand their position you can find a mutual purpose, an alternative solution, or compromise.

Master Your Stories
You have control over your emotions.
Think your emotions out. Re-frame them if necessary (Change the stories you tell yourself).
Your emotionally generated stories are often untrue. You have to look at reality and facts.
Do this by realizing your own biases in the situation and accounting for them.
Realize that your brain will almost always rationalize your own behavior
Common Ones:
1. Victim Stories (Ignoring the role you play in the problem)
2. Villain Stories (Misattributing evil motives or incompetence to those you disagree with.)
(MM: This is your brain out-grouping someone in preparation for violence, FYI.
Very bad to let yourself do this to ppl who aren’t legit enemies.)
3. Helpless Stories (“I can’t do anything!”)
All these stories are attempts to avoid responsibility.
If you want something to change, YOU will have to make it happen!
Useful Stories:
Turn Victims Into Actors (Notice your actual role in the situation)
Turn Villains Into Humans (“Why would a reasonable person do what this person did?”)
(Very unlikely they are actually malicious.)
Turn The Helpless Into Helpful(“What do I need to do, right now, to get the outcome I want?”)

State My Path
1. Start with your facts. Facts are not (usually) controversial and they help stop you from being seen as a villain.
2. Tell your story (Your conclusion based on the facts). Do not water down you message or apologize for it.
Present your conclusion rationally, and watch the convo so that it stays in dialogue.
Be confident, but present your opinion as being open for change with additional information.
Use 3rd party info and testimonies.
3. Ask for their point of view. In a group, encourage everyone to voice their facts and ideas.

Explore Others Paths
Listening to others is a great way to persuade them.
Understand the source of their fear/discomfort. Stay curious about the other person.
Be patient, realize it may take a little while for them to settle down.
1. Ask.
2. Mirror- Acknowledge the emotions they are feeling. Be calm, be in the state you want them to be in.
3. Paraphrase- Say their position back to them and confirm what they think.
4. Prime- Sometimes you have to offer your best guess at what they are thinking to get them to open up.
5. Then, state your path (As shown in last chapter). Compare your two viewpoints when you disagree significantly.
Agree when you agree. Dont turn agreements into arguments.

Move To Action
Dialogue is not decision making. Make it clear how final decisions will be made.
The 4 common ways: Command, Consult, Vote, Consensus(Should only be used when everyone has to agree).
At the end of dialogue, make assignments (Who does what and by when. Be specific or nothing gets done)
Be exactly clear on what you want. Always agree when the team will follow up on the assignment.


MM: I left out the cuck shit. What is left in this review is very useful info.
Apologizing, for example, is not respected at all in the modern world. It is interpreted as weakness. So I left that out.
In any case, this info is what you need to do when you need to get along with ppl during touchy convos.
Remember, when it comes to your enemies (Or to get media attention) you need to be SAVAGE and humorous.


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