Review of "Crucial Conversations - Tools for Talking When Stakes are High"

Posted by Jim Floyd on Jan 3, 2023 11:10:39 AM


In the early 2000’s I took part in a training course which I’ve never forgotten, and nearly twenty years later, it’s still as important as the day I first began learning about it and practicing what I was learning – How to have a “crucial” conversation and stay in dialogue. The training course took place at the Danaher Business System University (DBSU), housed in the Videojet Technologies facility in Wood Dale, Illinois, and it was there that I (and those attending with me) first learned about Crucial Conversations.

Crucial Conversations1 are conversations you might have professionally or personally whereby…

  • Opinions vary,
  • Stakes are high, and
  • Emotions run strong.

I would leverage a guess that your life experiences have presented you with the opportunity to experience many such conversations, as my life experiences have. I don’t always have a “perfect” conversation every time, and I’ve fumbled many a crucial conversation in my time; but as a practitioner, teacher, and coach of continuous process improvement, we have a saying – “Don’t let perfect get in the way of better”, and we are constantly learning from our successes as well as our mistakes.

Make no mistake about it, developing skills in crucial conversations will improve your personal and professional relationships, help you see a conversation from a collaborative point of view, and ultimately lead to improving favorable outcomes for you and those engaged in such crucial conversations (and any other stakeholders as well).

The general themes of Crucial Conversations are:

  • Knowing and identifying a crucial conversation
  • How to state your intention or goals
  • How to speak persuasively and respectfully to maintain focus
  • How to stay in dialogue (making it safe to share)
  • How to create a collective interest while keeping focus on your goal (noting that we may sometimes need to change our goal based on what we learn)
  • Closing out the crucial conversation with agreed upon actions which will produce results benefiting all parties and stakeholders.

My top three (3) key Crucial Conversations1 takeaways (life’s experiences) are

1) The importance of taking pause during a crucial conversation to evaluate, adjust, and to stay in dialogue – all while controlling personal emotions and physical cues which may put safety at risk.

2) The importance of not only listening to another’s point of view, but hearing it (expressing empathy).

3) The importance of being clear, concise, and accurate when discussing your point of view, reflecting on other’s points of view, and in moving forward with actions (document and follow-up).

Let’s all have positive and productive conversations, especially those of which are Crucial Conversations1.

1: Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High. (n.d.). Retrieved 12 16, 2022, from Amazon:

Contact Us!

Jim Floyd

Written by Jim Floyd

Topics: manufacturing, workforce, workforce coaching, Workforce Development, workforce solutions, Team Coaching, leadership coaching

    Subscribe to Email Updates:

    Stay Connected:

    Posts by Category