to really do something about communications on the job? Want the
very best OD/Training tool available to accomplish that? Here it
is. We firmly believe this is the best communication training program
available…period. Communications training at its very best via leader-led
Crucial Conversations training. Not artificial exercises, but communication
training leading to opening up and eliminating barriers within your
team and between teams.
team goes through this training together and will learn crucial
communication skills that get elephants out from under the rug and
make it safe to discuss them. They will learn specific communication
skills to build trust, reduce fear and open the lines of communication.
Your want to make sure team members know how to handle Crucial Conversations
(when the stakes and emotions are high) see the question, "Would
you rather I be honest or nice?" as a sucker's choice, and know
how important it is and how to make it safe for those with conflicting
opinions to share them. Stephen Covey, in his foreword to the book,
Crucial Conversations that came out in June
of 2002 (and was on the NY Times Top Ten Best Seller List by July)
called this training a “breakthrough.”
about the research that clearly shows the
most effective training strategies, by starting this training
at the top…and have the leader lead. Then cascaded this team building
program down in the organization. Leader-led lessons work best because
the authors teach the cognitive content via an expert video, and
the actual leader can facilitate the discussion about the application
of the concepts to their particular group. There are also video
vignettes, the overview CDs, the participant toolkit, the leader’s
guide, a copy of the book Crucial conversations, and more. The lessons
are about an hour long (fits into a staff meeting) and can be delivered
once a week to maximize the benefits of spaced learning. If you
have an OD/Training/HR department(s) they can play a very big role
as well. Call us. Let’s discuss your needs.
the details of the training program, Crucial Conversations…the
best communications training program on the market today.
research by the Authors of Crucial Conversations...the New York
Times Best Seller Book and Training Program by the same name has
led to the development of a new approach to team-based communications
training...leader-led lessons. See what the research says:
For over two
decades, the authors of Crucial Conversations have studied what
it takes to bring about lasting change. Here's what they say.
when we say study, we aren't kidding around. We examine people's
heads, hearts, hands-and eventually how they act. Here's how we
conduct our research.
We start by examining if people get what has been covered. Do they
even understand what they've been taught? This we do with a simple
paper and-pencil test.
cover categorical scripts (the mini-theory of what to do) as well
as episodic scripts (do they know how to say what needs to be said?).
If people fail these basic tests of understanding, there's no hope
Next, we measure behavioral enactment. That is, can subjects actually
do what has been taught? Can they turn theories, principles, and
concepts into action? Do they say the words with the right style?'
(This turns out to be much harder than we initially imagined.) If
not, count on problems.
Next, we examine whether or not the subjects want to do what they've
been taught.' After they've carefully gathered in the ideas and
honed the skills, will they actually choose to use them? Strange
as it may sound, after learning what and how to enact certain skills,
people aren't always all that excited to put the skills into use.
So they don't.
summary, if people understand what to do, know how to do it, and
desire to try out the new skills, they are quite likely to experiment
with the skills and eventually change. That's the good news.
bad news is that if you leave out a single one of these elements,
the chances for change drop to zero. It's an all-or-nothing deal.
impact? Finally, having taken care of all of our independent
measures, we examine the dependent measure-do people actually enact
the behaviors at work? To take the measure, we never rely on self
reports. Instead, we ask subjects to report on their colleagues
before the training, after the training, and months later. We measure
actual on-the-job behaviors as reported by peers over time.
we've created measures of what's going on with people's motive and
ability and linked these to actual change, we then explore different
delivery methods. We vary the length of session, type and length
of practice, the length of time between sessions, who trains, etc.
brings us to our punch line-what type of training leads to what
type and level of change?
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
Train in short bursts.
you're teaching skills, training sessions that take over an hour
or two often lead to cognitive overload-too many ideas with too
little time to assimilate them.
people have learned about all they can handle after covering one
or two concepts, a couple of practices, and a commitment to go out
and do something. This takes about forty-five minutes to an hour.
Anything more and you're pushing the boundaries. People won't even
remember the content if you pile one concept on top of another and
deliver it over several hours.
Practice and practice.
advance from simply passing a paper-and-pencil test to passing the
behavioral test, the training needs to contain two elements. First,
participants need time to practice the actual skill during the training
(with feedback). That means they practice the skills and don't waste
time in directionless role-plays. Participants should rehearse the
skills much like actors rehearse parts in a play. If not, style
suffers and style counts, especially when you're trying to improve
Space the learning.
participants need time to practice the material at work and at home.
Spaced training provides participants with a chance to test the
material with real people in actual settings, tailor them to their
own style, and hone them until they're a comfortable part of their
participants don't practice within a week, most of them fail the
behavioral test in less than thirty days. Strangely enough, without
continual practice, they also begin to score lower on the paper-and-pencil
test. Without constant practice over the first few months, subjects
eventually forget almost everything.
Aggressively follow up.
After participants have been given time to practice, each one must
be held accountable at the beginning of the next session (usually
held within seven to ten days). Did they practice? What happened?
What worked? What didn't? What corrections must be made?
meaningful accountability and midcourse corrections, many participants
will attend the training, like it, do little to change, maybe even
do the wrong thing, and fall back into old habits.
Have leaders train.
particular suggestion often rankles, or at least worries, people.
Can leaders (often untrained in conducting formal training sessions)
actually make the training fly?
answer this question, we put trainer manuals in the hands of a professional
trainer, a supervisor, and a trainer who had spent a one-year stint
on the floor as a front-line leader. Then, over the next two months,
each conducted a series of interpersonal skills training sessions.
Before the training began, we measured the skills to be taught (assessed
through a peer review). We then took the same measure after the
training was completed, along with one several months later. We
also asked participants to rate the quality of the training itself.
everyone suspected, the professional trainer received the highest
marks-when it came to the assessment of the training itself. And
yes, the supervisor received the lowest marks. (They were still
quite high. On a seven-point Likert scale, with seven being high,
he received an average of five and a half.)
more interesting question, of course, was: how successful were the
trainers in bringing about change?
the supervisor not only trained the material but was also able to
follow up with his team, reinforce healthy practice, and advise
the participants between sessions, his group changed the most. The
trainer's group changed the least (almost two points less on the
seven-point scale). Frankly, the results are exactly as you would
generally train better.
are more capable of bringing about significant and lasting change.
It's an empirical question. Try it and see.
suggested that supervisors conduct the training, but if set up poorly
it could be a disaster. In order for supervisors to successfully
conduct the training, the materials must be user friendly. Handing
a leader some notes, a marker, and a flip chart is far too risky.
Sure, there are leaders who are as comfortable in front of class
as just about anyone, but you can't count on it. By the same token,
providing a gaggle of materials that will take hours of preparation
doesn't work either. Who has that kind of time?
strike the correct balance, the authors of the Crucial Conversations
have designed materials, tested them with actual leaders (often
with front-line employees themselves), and refused to rest until
the materials can be trained by just about anyone-without a lot
of palm-sweating preparation.
a train-the-trainer kickoff session (we provide the necessary materials
for the session) and about an hour or so of prep per session, leaders
do a fine job.
Train intact workgroups.
you've committed to having leaders conduct the training, should
they train their own teams? Should you mix and match? What if you
can't pull everyone off work at the same time?
is an easy one to answer. There's no doubt that training yields
the best results when intact teams can move through the training
together. The concepts, values, and skills become part of the
social environment. The theory becomes part of the shared vocabulary.
The values become part of who they are and how they think- Team
members encourage one another, serve as coaches, celebrate success,
and work on improvements-as a team.
almost sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? But it is true. Skill-based
training sessions (one-hour sessions taught by actual leaders to
their intact work teams) not only win, but they win twice. Here's
FOR THE ORGANIZATION
short sessions fit the demands of living, breathing people in organizations.
Most teams can be pulled away from their work once a week-if it's
only for an hour or so. And these sessions allow each team to focus
on the basic skills it needs.
addition, leaders already lead work-groups, why not have them conduct
the training as well? This way you don't have to pay for outside
trainers or juggle tough training schedules. Besides, who is better
at following up than a person who already spends time with the participants?
Best of all, professional trainers are now freed up to play more
high-leverage roles of master trainer, coach, and consultant.
FOR THE TRAINING
as a change strategy, training actually works better when it is
short, spaced, and followed up on by people in positions of authority.
is one of those rare times when the needs of the organization and
the needs of the training actually go hand in glove.
short, with Single Point or leader-led lessons, you don't have to
sacrifice the training design to make it fit the organization's
demands. Better yet, you don't have to make the organization suffer
in order to fit in the training.
What to Train
book by the same name by the same authors was released in June of
2002. It hit the NY Times best seller list in July of 2002. With
a foreword by Stephen Covey, the book is based upon the concepts
in this training program.
Stakes . Opposing Opinions . Strong Emotions .
you’re like most people, scarcely a day passes that you don’t face
a crucial conversation. You know the type—stakes are high, opinions
vary, and emotions run strong. Perhaps you’re about to talk to a
semi-hostile direct report about a performance problem. Gulp. Maybe
you need to talk to your boss about purposely withholding valuable
information from you. That should be a fun little chat. Maybe you’ve
decided to sit down with your in-laws to discuss all of those unannounced
and lengthy visits. Maybe not.
you’re stuck, there’s a crucial conversation keeping you there.
if you’re like most of us, when it matters most you’re typically
on your worst behavior. That’s because when it comes to crucial
conversations, we’re designed exactly wrong. When our emotions kick
in, we’re genetically programmed to fight or to take flight—not
to skillfully hold complex human interactions.
discussions heat up, our bodies dutifully (and without consulting
our brains) pump out adrenaline. Soon our breathing picks up, our
vision narrows, and our blood flows to our limbs and away from our
brains. Great—at the very moment when we need to be on our best
behavior, we’re operating with the same cognitive tools available
to a rhesus monkey.
little wonder that as we’re walking away from a heated discussion
we often mumble to ourselves: “What was I thinking?” You know what
we’re talking about. Your spouse isn’t affectionate enough so you
try your best influence strategy: you give him or her the cold shoulder.
That should really help. A coworker subtly harasses you and you
scorch him with a tubful of scathing sarcasm. Now there’s a tool
that’ll get you that next promotion.
how to master crucial conversations, and your whole life changes.
all this can change. Twenty-five years of research with over 20,000
people has taught us how to turn crucial conversations into experiences
that produce strong results and build relationships. By studying
people who know what to say, when to say it, and how to deliver
the words in a way that actually gets heard without creating defensiveness—we
now know exactly.
Smart people are people who have mastered the skills of Crucial
Conversations. See how and why Crucial Conversations™ can improve
your organizational vitality, quality, productivity and your bottom
line. Descriptions, case studies, Industry Leaders" comments.
program contains Expert Video (the authors delivering the cognitive
content) and an overview of program on either a CD or audio tape
for review, both conducted by one or more of the authors.
What Crucial Conversations Teaches - Seven Principles:
Heart: How to Work on Me First, Us Second.
requires first a change of heart, and second a change of behavior.
- How to catch
motives that move you from dialogue toward silence or violence.
- How to spot
the thoughts that sap your desire to get to dialogue.
Look: How to See When Safety Is At Risk.
- If you learn
to look at safety, you can fix what goes wrong in almost any conversation.
- What happens
to our ability to spot problems during Crucial Conversations?
- Three skills
that help you catch safety problems before they destroy dialogue.
Make it Safe:
How to Increase Candor While Decreasing Defensiveness.
- The Key to
Candor—If you step out of a conversation and build enough safety,
you can talk about anything.
- Mutual Purpose—it
isn’t what you say but why others think you’re saying it that
drives others to silence or vviolence.
- Mutual Respect—it
isn’t what you say but what others think you mean that damages
- Three safety-building
skills for increasing candor while decreasing hostility and defensiveness.
Stories: How to Manage Emotions that Destroy Dialogue.
- Act on your
emotions or you’ll become a victim of them.
- How to get
to the root of emotions that are driving you to silence or violence.
- How to spot
the three “clever stories” that makes us feel good about doing
bad while simultaneously undermining our own results.
- How to create
emotions that take us to dialogue.
Path: How to Speak Persuasively, Not Abrasively.
- The Delicate
Balance—the heart of sharing risky meaning is balancing confidence
- How to share
volatile, controversial, and sensitive opinions while minimizing
Paths: How to Power Up Your Listening.
- The heart
of exploring other’s risky views involves curiosity, respect and
- How to make
it safe for others to share anything.
- How to make
it safe for you to hear anything.
Move to Action:
How to Make Decisions and Improve Accountability.
- How you end
a conversation leads to either results or upsets.
- How to avoid
the agony of over-involvement and the insult of under-involvement.
- How to avoid
déjà vu dialogues—lots of talk, no action, talk again.
- How to use
DialogueSmarts™ in the toughest of circumstances.
- How do you
say things that could really insult others?
- How do you
deal with a conversation that never ends?
- What special
issues do you face in Crucial Conversations with loved ones?
- How do you
give tough feedback to a boss?
- How do you
deal with an incompetent peer?
Firm Goes for Six Sigma
A large manufacturing
firm was working hard to implement Six Sigma processes and tools
in their organization. International competition was forcing them
to make dramatic improvements in quality and productivity just to
stay alive. Leaders’ vision was not just survival, but to build
a vital, nimble, competitive organization for the future.
Over an 18-month
period of time, teams that used both Six Sigma and DialogueSmarts™
skills made 10% or greater improvements in quality, rework and productivity.
Those who used only Six Sigma processes and tools made no measurable
The two Crucial
Conversations that were key to making continuous improvement and
Six Sigma a part of the culture were:
- Team members’
speaking candidly with their direct supervisor about their concerns
speaking candidly up the management hierarchy about their concerns
The bottom line:
When these two Crucial Conversations improved, everything improved.
When these conversations did not improve, improvement stalled.
Quotes from Industry Leaders
is one of the most powerful and useful tools I have found. Chronic
communication errors are at the root of so many problems in daily
life. I have seen breakthroughs with people with whom all other
efforts have failed." Michael Miller, Director, AT&T.
learned in DialogueSmarts have produced immediate and impactful
results in the overall working relationships at all levels in our
organization." Russ Ford, Vice President Operations, Lockheed Martin.
has been extremely popular, and by every measure successful. In
addition to rich anecdotal evidence, we have measured significant
improvement in twenty-two categories covered in our annual employee
opinion survey…at a price that's affordable."
Steve Terry, Director, Intermountain Health Care University.
(Leaders' Guide, video examples, expert video, cards): $650 USD.
Material ( including all lessons, cards and the new Crucial Conversations
book just published by McGraw-Hill for desk reference. $150 USD.
Contact us for more information by calling us at (866) 230-3131 or
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