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Pamela Nolan
EDU 713
November 3, 2010


The best selling book, Crucial Confrontations, is a follow up to its partner, Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High. It is written from the perspective and belief that problems routinely plague families, teams, organizations, groups, and everyday life. As an everyday occurrence, confrontation will occur. Unfortunately, the majority of individuals lack the skills to effectively deal with crucial confrontations. They give step by step instructions of how to deal with confrontations resulting from failed promises, disappointments, and performance gaps. They outline how to have a face to face crucial conversation with accountability, respect, and results. At the same time, they emphasize the fact that mastering crucial confrontations will allow a person to never walk away from a problem or fear again. It was written by a team of authors, Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler, who have since become speakers and consultants that have worked with organizations all over the world. In 1990, this team of four founded a consulting firm called VitalSmarts.
The authors collectively spent over 10,000 hours observing real-life situations and confrontations. World, company, and organizational leaders were examined, along with many influential people. There were also observations on everyday people, handling everyday life situations. What they found, over and over, was that disappointments often occur because of missed commitments, broken promises, violations of common respect, and an overall lack of communication skills. The book outlines strategies to achieve results when confrontations and issues arise. It offers practiced and proven skills to succeed regardless of the circumstances, people, or topics. The authors outline a specific model they entitled The Crucial Confrontation Model (pg. 251, Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, & Switzler). It begins with choosing to work on oneself first and preparing for crucial confrontations. In essence, the person is encouraged to evaluate their thoughts, former confrontations, and emotions to better position themselves in a productive frame of mind. This can be done by deciding on what one really wants and mastering the entire “story” of what exactly the issues are.
The model moves to confronting with safety. During this stage, one is encouraged to create an atmosphere that is easy and comfortable for each participant. This involves revisiting the original problem with less emotion and more concrete facts, without blaming. It is about understanding how to begin a crucial confrontation and how to set a positive tone from the beginning it involves describing the gap between what was expected and what actually occurred. The authors caution about not playing games, attacking by surprise, passing the blame, and expecting others to assume to read ones mind. This step is crucial in the safety and outcome of the confrontation and relationship. If handled poorly, one could loose relationships, jobs, and many other important facets.
The final step is when one moves into action. This is when an individual takes steps to ensure that this type of issue will not happen again or continue to reappear. The parties involved must agree on a plan of action and follow up with that plan. The plan must be specific and include all of the details such as, who will do what, by when, and the follow up.
This book grabbed my attention from reading its predecessor, Crucial Conversations: Talking When the Stakes are High. I am surrounded by daily circumstances that place me in a position to be involved in conflict. I have a family, husband, children, a classroom, colleagues, and friends. Crucial confrontations gave me a much better understanding of the importance of effective and essential conflict resolutions. I have a new appreciation for approaching others and am continuously self evaluating my words and behaviors in my daily interactions. Included is a self assessment to measure your own crucial confrontation skills. It is an easy to read book, with interesting scenarios to help with everyday life and results. I can put the book down and pick it up when I have an issue building that I need to effectively resolve.
I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to create more positive and productive relationships within their families, work places, and life in general. The steps are practical, useful, and easily implemented. My life has already been affected positively by practicing the Crucial Confrontation Model.

Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, &Switzler, K., J., R., &A. (2005). Crucial confrontations. New York, NY: McGraw Hill.