The aim of this book is to enable those operating at all levels in an organisation to manage difficult conversations in a way that enhances relationships and improves performance.
The book provides a unique new approach to analysing the requirements common to all difficult conversations and employing strategies which will work for both parties. It is based on a coaching programme which the authors have been working on and delivering for 20 years. The book explains: common pitfalls in approaching difficult conversations; the ten most common types of difficult conversation; the prevailing "closed-to-learning" approach to such situations; the three principles of the authors' new "open-to-learning" system; the form of words required to implement these principles; and numerous examples and exercises designed to improve readers' understanding and technique in putting this new approach into practice.
The book explains:
"Managing difficult conversations dealing with differences in opinion at work is a universal concern. More than 10 years ago one of the authors (Mel Myers) introduced managers at Delcam to a reflective approach to dealing with issues in response to our problems in managing change in a growing organisation. Together we learnt the value of taking an open approach to discussions, recognising the need to promote partnership and exchange of all relevant information. We gained an understanding that we should question assumptions about colleagues' reactions when formulating our response. We found that this considered approach brought genuine benefits in supporting change with less stress. These concepts helped us maintain the open culture that is essential in a growing young company.
In this book Sue Clark and Mel Myers provide an excellent insight into the problems of having difficult conversations and using a reflective approach to manage these successfully. The annotated examples are a particularly helpful aid to understanding. Readers should keep this book close to hand to help find guidance for a forthcoming difficult discussion and to help reflect on and learn from the experience of a tough episode at work."
Ed Lambourne, Technical Director, Delcam plc
"This book addresses in a practical and helpful way a set of techniques designed to make various difficult conversations not only easier but also developmental and helpful. A more open and learning approach emphasises that whilst no-body would claim such conversations could be made easy they can often be much better. There is a lot of practical advice and some theory to help us do a better job in a critical area of effective management."
Robin Wensley, Professor of Policy and Marketing, Warwick Business School, Warwick University
Publication Date: July 2007