Each book the Xenium Book Club reads has an educational and professional purpose. Up to this point, we have examined how to build trust within corporations, how to find a group of personal and trusted advisers, and how to develop a great corporate culture. This month, we took a dive into a book that is significantly more process-oriented: Fierce Conversations.
Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work and in Life One Conversation at a Time by Susan Scott is in some ways a how-to guide for having problem-solving conversations with people in life—whether it be a spouse, friend, colleague, employee or manager.
Ultimately, Scott believes that by paying little attention to the conversations we have throughout the day, our relationships will fail one conversation at a time. Simply put, this book turns the reader’s focus back onto having engaging conversation with people in their lives. Scott believes personal and professional success depends on it.
The meat of a fierce conversation, according to Scott, is in the “Mineral Rights” model. The “Mineral Rights” is a series of questions with seven steps that help accomplish the four purposes of a fierce conversation:
1. Interrogate reality
2. Provoke learning
3. Tackle tough challenges
4. Enrich relationships
The steps seemingly serve as a guideline to ensure each person is heard and understood and that there is a defined plan for resolution.
A key point in the book that I personally found applicable in conversations is one of Scott’s principles: “Be Here, Prepared to be Nowhere Else.” This principle instructs us to listen to those who are speaking with an intent to understand where they are coming from. In today’s world, with the profusion of electronic devices, we easily become distracted during conversations. “Be Here, Prepared to be Nowhere Else,” in my interpretation, means to commit to the conversation and disregard the outside world for that moment.
In summary, Fierce Conversations is a book we all need in one way or another. Because of the use of technology in our personal and professional lives, we have become significantly removed from having face-to-face conversations. We miss the ability to see body language and often misinterpret what people actually mean through mediums such as email or instant messaging, especially if the language is not clear. One way to get back on track is to read this book and begin to develop an awareness of methods used during conversations.
Xenium Book Club Rating: 6.5/10