Crucial Conversations | K. Patterson

Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes are High | K. Patterson, J. Grenny, R. McMillan, A. Switzler, S.R. Covey.

🚀 The Book in 3 Sentences

🎨 Impressions

How I Discovered It

Who Should Read It?

☘️ How the Book Changed Me

How my life / behaviour / thoughts / ideas have changed as a result of reading the book.

✍️ My Top 3 Quotes

📒 Ideas

  • Reason behind avoidance of crucial conversations is irrational fear that we will make matters somehow worse. ^07e40b
  • People who can withstand the stress of a tough conversation routinely speak up and heard by others: colleagues, bosses, spouses, children, etc.
  • Crucial conversation has been one of the pillars of NETFLIX’s success. And it was called radical candor. It’s too bad I haven’t done any note on the topic, though I actually might have, I just don’t remember how I named it.

The main problem of almost any company nowadays is lack of transparent communication. People don’t express their opinions and that is the key defect in the behaviour.

My experience rhymes with what said in the book, that worse employers, with the worst performance are usually not heard and then transferred somewhere, in my case it has been a promotion. There lies a dysfunction of the system.

What advantageously differentiate bad, good and the best companies is the way management deals with problems and tough issues. In good companies managers are held accountable, in the best one accountability lies on all staff. In the end, you’ll have to be responsible for success and failure. Again, that’s how NETFLIX operates.

  • Radical candor must be delivered with absolute and deepest respect.
  • The groundwork of any crucial conversation lies in a free flow of information and meaning.
  • How meaning and free flow of the information achieves radical in candor?
  • What can be done to get the candid conversation started?

Shared pool is a safe place to let ideas flow, intermingle with other ideas and be tested and be scrutinized. Ideas in the pool might be controversial, at odds with someone’s beliefs. The main function of the pool is to let ideas find their way into the open.


  • Shared pool shouldn’t be shallow. It happens when people on purpose withhold information from one another, it leads to individually smart people doing stupid things collectively.
  • In shared pool ideas build one upon another and wholeheartedly supported by the most
  • The POOL OF SHARED MEANING is the birthplace of synergy. ^0da07f

Important questions to ask when working with the pool or in the pool

  • How do I express feedback?
  • How do I speak persuasively, not abrasively?
  • How am I listening to my partners?
  • How to make people talk when they feel nervous?
  • How to move from thought to action?


  • When we speak from a position of personal gain our behaviour degenerates, but that’s not a problem, problems is that our motives degenerated and that is usually missed.
  • Desire to win the argument drives us farther from healthy dialogues.

Dialogue starts with questions, as everything else. All skilled negotiators operate in the premises of the following questions.

  • What do I really want for myself?
  • What do I really want for others?
  • What do I really want for the relationship?

After one more question to ask might loo prudent: How would I behave if I really wanted these results?

Every crucial conversation has telltale signs that indicate cases when dialogue could take a turn for the worse.

Look at yourself, what happens when something important pops up during routine interaction: heart rated increases, sweating, stomach gets tighter, eye go dry, breathing becomes shallower. The first cue is always physical, a rare case when it’s not.

  • As soon as you can see that mutual respect is at risk, consider using three hard-hitting skills:
    • Apologize
    • Contrast
      • Is don’t|do statements
        • The last thing that I wanted to do …
        • I think your work has been nothing short of spectacular
      • Contrasting is not apologizing. It’s not a way of taking something back, something that hurts others’ feelings.
      • Use contrasting to clarify what you don’t mean. Start with don’t believe part.
    • Create mutual purpose
      • Before you do it, the first thing to do is to find out the purposes of other people.
  • Unspeakable can be stated with three premises in mind:
    • Confidence
      • Be positive and vocal about your pains.
    • Humility
      • Keep in mind that your opinion is not the only one.
      • Though opinion of others provide a starting point but not the final word.
    • Skills
      • Be willing to share sensitive information in a delicate manner.

Be sincerely curious. Make it safe for them to express their opinion. I made a mistake with [[Константин Тузов]] when pushed too hard. The moment he became furious I must have become curious, though I think I did, but now in retrospect I think I hadn’t done as good as I could. I should have thought what was it all about, behind the ruckus, not be kind and polite, but curious. Wrong reasons led to disastrous results.

  • To explore other paths we should exploit four powerful listening skills, be a demanding listener and attentive diplomat [[How to speak How to listen#The demanding listener]]: ^e50939
    • ASK
      • Express interest in other person’s view.
    • MIRROR
      • Respectfully acknowledge feelings of others.
      • Restate not for better understanding but also to show that it’s safe to share what they are thinking
    • PRIME
      • If others hold back — prime [[Накручивание модели поведения]]
      • Take the best guess at what they may feel and think.

As we begin to share our views, we have to

  • Agree.
    • With what is shared.
  • Build.
    • When somebody leaves something out, agree on it then build.
  • Compare.
    • Don’t disagree, instead compare two views.
  • The riskiest moments in conversations are in the beginning and at the end.
    • Beginning, you need to create safety.
    • The end is dicey due to the fact of next action. What it will be?
      • Clarify conclusions and decisions.


[[выбор и решение]]

  • Before making a decision, you have to reach an agreement on how to decide.
    • Deciding what to turn over and when to do is part of stewardship of parents and managers.
  • Four methods of decision-making
    • Command
      • It’s not our job to decide on the way, but how to make it work.
    • Consult
      • Invite others to influence them or help to influence you in your decision-making.
    • Vote
      • Use when facing several equally good options.
      • Must never be used when there is no consensus, all must agree.
    • Consensus is bad, compared to win-win decision, win-lose even preferable. [[a tool for conflict resolution Evaporating cloud#Conflict resolution is not a win-lose situation]] ^fa056a
      • Misapplied — horrible waste of time.
      • High stakes and complex issues.
      • Issues in which is absolutely important for everyone to support final decision.

How to choose

Ask the questions

  • Who cares?
    • Don’t involve who doesn’t care.
  • Who knows?
    • Identify those who have an expertise in the area where a decision needs to be made.
    • Don’t involve people who contribute no new information to the pool of meaning.
  • Who must agree?
    • Think of those who you might need in the form of authority or influence.
    • Don’t surprise them, otherwise you might experience their open resistance.
  • How many people is it worth involving?
    • Involve the fewest number of people
    • Do we have enough people?
    • Will others involved be committed to the cause?

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