Summary of Crucial Confrontations

Tools for Resolving Broken Promises, Violated Expectations, and Bad Behavior

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Crucial Confrontations book summary
Fight against meekness and rage, consider the issues and then go out on the tightrope for that crucial little chat.


9 Overall

10 Applicability

8 Innovation

8 Style


Although confrontation is difficult for many people, it is often necessary. Failure to confront someone over bad behavior may be misinterpreted as approval. Confrontations can help bring people back to a better, more productive course. However, confrontations also can go off track and become shouting matches (or worse). Authors Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler outline a method for approaching confrontations when the stakes are particularly high; those are the crucial confrontations. Boiled down to its essentials, the methodology consists of focusing on facts, remaining calm, listening to the other person with respect and working to motivate the other person and to enable a change in behavior. The book is light, anecdotal and easy to read. Yet, getAbstract finds that it offers so much sound advice that any manager, parent or spouse could find something useful.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How to confront others calmly and fruitfully;
  • How to handle high stakes confrontations;
  • How to motivate others; and
  • How to use discipline.


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What is a crucial confrontation? Crucial means that the stakes are high - For example, in 1982 a plane crashed, killing 74 people. Tapes of the cockpit conversation indicated that the copilot was trying to warn the pilot about ice buildup on the wings, but didn't have...
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About the Authors

Kerry Patterson writes training programs and is an executive coach. Joseph Grenny, a keynote speaker and consultant, co-founded the California Computer Corporation and the nonprofit organization, Unitus. Ron McMillan co-founded the Covey Leadership Center. Al Switzler is on the faculty of the Executive Development center at the University of Michigan.

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