Friday, August 15, 2014

Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit--Joseph Grenny

(Here at the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit in an effort to improve my leadership as a volunteer with Operation Christmas Child.  Learn more about OCC at )  Joseph Grenny speaks on

Mastering the Art of Crucial Conversations --

The power of a group is the function of the purity of its motives.

I want to share a principle of leadership and of life that shapes your world.  If you consider yourself a leader, this will define you.

The most crucial conversation of my life took place on December 28, 2009.  I met Patrick when he was 12 years old.  He was a scout and I was a scout leader. He disappeared after a couple of years and one of Patrick's friends said he thought he was doing drugs.  Ten years later I opened the door to a bedraggled guy who I finally recognized as Patrick.  I brought him in and dropped him on the couch and he poured forth a story of addiction and prison time.  Then he said he wanted to turn his life around.  We made a plan and he got a job and started working.  Later I co-signed for a loan so he could get a truck then later he disappeared again.  A few months later my home was burglarized.  A few months later it was burglarized again and security cameras caught Patrick breaking in.  A few months later I saw him along the road and he got in my car. I took him back home and we began to talk.

Are there moments of disproportionate influence that dramatically change the outcome of a person or an organization?

We've found there are moments defined by three dimensions that have a huge influence:

1)  There is an issue that is very high stakes
2)  You come into these moments expecting opposing opinions
3)  You have strong emotions

Think of the name of someone about whom you've drawn a negative conclusion.    There's nothing wrong with having concerns with other people; the challenge is how we handle them.

Big Idea #1 -- The Principle of Crucial Conversations

Anytime you find yourself stuck, stop and ask;  "What's the crucial conversation we're either not holding or not holding well?"

If it's not possible to have fewer crucial conversations without having a meaningless life, then we need to learn have the conversations.

1)  You can talk it out
2)  You will act it out which will provoke behavior in response

The myth we believe from a young age:  You often have to choose between telling the truth and keeping a friend.

Progress begins when we as leaders start to unwind that myth.  Your job as a leader is to monitor, lead, and measure the conversations.

Three crucial moments in churches:

1)  Performance problems with volunteers or staff
2)  Members who are struggling with sin or disconnecting from the church
3)  Concerns with pastors

Crucial conversations are either a pit or a path upward.  Crucial conversations can become a path to intimacy when we respectfully and candidly express our concerns.

The Crucial Difference:  Those in the top quartile raising these concerns are:
73% better new member growth
65% better staff strength
100% better in financial health

Identify the 2-3 most crucial conversations for your organization and measure progress.

The vital behavior that enables most any positive organizational outcome is CANDOR at moments of acute emotional and political risk.

Individual influence, teamwork, productivity, marriage success, diversity, quality, safety all depend on ability to manage crucial conversations.

Seven Crucial Skills
1.  Start with Heart
2.  Learn to Look
3.  Make it Safe
4.  Master My Stories

When you're in "that moment" what do you say first?
You have 2 tasks in the "hazardous half minute" -- If you do these 2 things there's a 90% chance you'll be heard.

Ingredients of Safety
Mutual Purpose -- The Entrance Condition -- You know that I care about your goals.
Mutual Respect--The Continuance Condition--You know that I care about you.

Candor is Never the Problem -- People NEVER become defensive about what you're saying.  People become defensive because of what they think is your intent.

The myth that we can't both tell the truth and keep a friend is at the heart of our problem with having the crucial conversations.

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