Summary of Crucial Accountability

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  • Innovative
  • Applicable
  • Well Structured


What should you do when someone cuts in line in front of you or speaks of you supposedly humorously but disparagingly? In such circumstances, most people end up doing nothing. Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler present the second edition of their popular 2005 book,  Crucial Conversations, to give you reliable techniques to use in tough discussions. They support your efforts to speak up and hold others accountable by sharing techniques they learned by watching respected executives cope with potentially stressful situations. The authors spell out a solid method in useful detail to benefit anyone who must hold others accountable.

About the Authors

Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler have produced four New York Times bestsellers. They co-founded and lead VitalSmarts, a corporate training company.



Most people never hold others accountable for acting badly in public because speaking up when someone violates a standard or a social norm can be difficult.

The most important conversations often concern the situations with the highest consequences if people don’t live up to their responsibilities. The big question about failure of accountability is often, “Why didn’t you keep your commitment?”

Speaking up or holding someone accountable for maintaining normal responsibilities or standards can be difficult, but it’s also important. Norms enable people to coexist without discomfort and anxiety. Problematically, most people simply won’t call others out, even when they should. For the majority, the downside of potential conflict is worse than the upside of speaking out. Confrontation risks too much trouble.

But if you know how to speak up effectively when others are out of line, the upside outweighs the downside. You can learn how to handle these uncomfortable situations by using the techniques modeled by leaders who succeed in holding their employees accountable for inappropriate behavior...

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