Crucial Conversations & Brainstorming

Everything thinks they have the next great idea, but there is a reason why most ideas fail.  We don’t have the proper conversations up front during brainstorming.  Forbes Magazine states that these are the four pieces to great brainstorming sessions:

  • Lay out the problem you want to solve
  • Identify the objectives of a possible solution
  • Try to generate solutions individually
  • Once you have gotten clear on your problems, your objectives and your personal solutions to the problems, work as a group.

Source: Forbes

Almost every brainstorming session will derail while attempting to generate solutions.  People are judgmental by nature.  The best ideas usually never get out there because people are afraid to speak up for fear of criticism or stepping on a “more senior” person’s toes.

Forget all of that.  If everyone doesn’t participate, there’s no possible way you’ll pick the best idea, let alone even hear them.

Crucial Conversations

A few months ago, I took a course on the book, “Crucial Conversations – Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High”.  I highly recommend the course or at least read the book.

Crucial Conversations

Read This Book.  It will change your way of thinking.

The material is pretty much common sense, but as you work through the exercises you’ll realize how badly you neglect these basic tools.  I won’t go over the entire course, because I think you should absolutely buy and read this book.  The main thing I realized is that up front they promote what is called, “Start with Heart”.   How are you behaving in this conversation?  What results do you want?

“The reason others get defensive with us is not because we lack the right skills, but because we have the wrong motives.  Change what you want and you’ll change how you act.”  

Ron McMillan – Co-Author, Crucial Conversations

If you’re acting like an egotistical jackass or sitting there silent and looking angry, the answer is you’re not behaving well.  Take a deep breath, share your point of view and keep the emotion out of it.  Not only does this advice apply to teams at work, but it also can be used with your friends and family as well.

Obviously, people are and will always be unreasonable, but that doesn’t make it ok for you to be unreasonable as well.  “Start With Heart” and use this to make the best of your conversations moving forward.   Dig deep and  ask them for their point of view.   Look for common ground and build their trust.

You’re thinking what I thought before I started this class.  “This is dumb, I’ll never use this.”  I was wrong and if you keep that open mind, you will think that as well.  The next time you are in a high pressure/high stakes conversation, think about what you’re trying to say and how it comes across.  You’ll be shocked.




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