Monthly Archives: March 2015


Fierce Conversations

Another email reminder from the library at work.  It said the Fierce Conversations book by Susan Scott is due in three days.  I’ve already renewed the book twice.  I’m only half way done reading it.  Between reading work material and academic papers for school, reading for pleasure is not easy.  This book has been meaningful, and I have been reading it on the bus.  However, there are only so many bus rides I take during the week.  Since I might be taking a course called Fierce Conversations in April, I’ve decided to return the book tomorrow.  I want to keep something from the book, so here is a collection of all the “refreshers” at the end of each chapter/principle in Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott:

Principle 1: Master the courage to interrogate reality

  • Regularly interrogate reality in your workplace and in your personal life.  What has changed?  Does the plan still make sense?  If not, what is required of you? of others?
  • Since everyone owns a piece of the truth about reality, consider whose realities should be explored before important decisions are made.
  • Avoid blame by modifying your language.  Replace the word but with and.
  • Ensure that your personal and corporate immune systems are healthy by conducting an integrity scan and correcting any outages.

Principle 2: Come out from behind yourself into the conversation and make it real

  • Free your true self and release the energy.  Others will recognize it and respond.
  • Your body will manifest the pictures your mind sends to it, so clarify where you want to go with your life in 3-D, Techni-color, wide-screen, with Dolby surround sound.
  • If your overhear yourself saying, “I don’t know,” ask yourself, “What would it be if I did know?”
  • Take yourself seriously.  Take your life personally.  Otherwise, there won’t be enough of you here.

Principle 3: Be here, prepared to be nowhere else

  • Whether at home or at work, whether for five minutes or for an hour, give your partner the purity of your attention.
  • Take the pulse of the relationship by really asking and really listening.
  • Come into the conversation with a beginner’s mind.  Bring nothing but yourself.
  • Use the secret rule: No advice or declarative statement.  Questions only.
  • Use the Decision Tree to provide your direct reports with clear decision-making boundaries and thresholds.

Principle 4: Tackle your toughest challenge today

  • Burnout occurs because we have been trying to solve the same problem over and over.
  • The problem named is the problem solved.
  • All confrontation is a search for the truth.
  • Healthy relationships include both confrontation and appreciation.
  • A courageous, skillful confrontation is a gift, a vein of gold worth mining.

Principle 5: Obey your instincts

  • A careful conversation is a failed conversation.
  • During each conversation, listen for more than content.  Listen for emotion and intent as well.
  • Act on your instincts rather than passing them over for fear that you could be wrong or that you might offend someone.
  • Watch what happens to the conversation when you do this.
  • Invite your partners to do the same.

Principle 6: Take responsibility for your emotional wake

  • In any important relationship, there is no trivial comment.
  • Give to others what you want to receive; live the principles you are intent on learning.
  • To deliver the message without the load, clarify your intent; aim for the chopping block.
  • When you get triggered, become a crucible – a strong, resilient vessel in which profound change can safely take place.
  • Complete the conversation.

Principle 7: Let silence do the heavy lifting

  • Talk with people, not at them.
  • The more emotionally loaded the subject, the more silence is required.
  • Use silence to slow down a conversation so that you can discover what the conversation really wants to be about.
  • Allow silence to fill in the greater meaning that needs to be there.
  • Allow silence to teach you how to feel.

I’ve taken the prerequisite, Coaching Approach to Conversations, for the Fierce Conversations course.  Now knowing the seven principles, I can’t wait for the two-day workshop and the exercises using these seven principles in April.

Peter Bregman: Four Seconds

Heard a really good podcast on the bus today.  It’s put up by the HBR IdeaCast.  The topic is on how to be less reactive and more proactive.  Thought this is worthwhile listening again later.


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