Crucial Conversations


Crucial Conversations

Education is only as good as having access to the education and my plan will level the playing field ensuring all students have access to a high quality education. I have gone through several phases in planning a strategy for my innovation. The beginning phase was to recognize an appeal to values, attitudes, and feelings which can first motivate people toward making changes. I started with John Kotter’s tip, in a significant change process we have to win over the hearts and the minds of people. This will make a huge difference in how we deal with people in a change process and the results we get.  So I created a “why” statement to connect to the hearts of stakeholders to promote the significance of my innovation plan and establish a sense of urgency.  Once I can convey these ideas to stakeholders, we will develop a team for launching a blended learning initiative.  In order to be successful, I will have to consider all facets of change.  The next phase was to change behavior, so I read Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change.  The purpose behind the Influencer approach was to focus on the results we need, identify the vital behaviors we need to change and to have a better understanding of the sources of influence that shape our behavior and how we can use those sources of influence to bring about change. In the third phase of planning, I read The 4 Disciplines of Execution on how to execute a plan effectively. I studied the disciplines required for translating strategy into action at all levels of an organization. I created a 4Dx execution plan for my team.  For the final phase in planning my strategy, I read Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High  so I can apply the crucial conversations methodologies to help in developing and leading my strategies and plans.

As I lead my school district in deployment for blended learning, it is crucial for my team to include our teachers in the conversation early on. The resistance for a change is inevitable so my most recent focus has been on Crucial Conversations.  What makes a conversation crucial? A crucial conversation is a discussion between two or more people where the stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong. The book Crucial Conversations has presented a different perspective on influence than other models I have studied, it is centered on various angles of persuasion.  Crucial Conversations concentrates on starting with the heart, learn to look, make it safe, master my story, state my path, and explore others’ paths.

The Pool of Shared Meaning is the birthplace of synergy”

In order to be effective in a crucial conversation dialog will play a substantial role.  The power of dialog is often overlooked. At the core of every successful conversation is the free flow of relevant information. For an organizational change, when others are not involved they are rarely committed to the final decision. So while I would like share my feelings, experience and theories behind blended learning, I must do my best to make it safe for everyone to also add their meaning to a shared pool of information. This will help my innovation efforts, and individuals will be exposed to more accurate and relevant information. They will make better choices. Gradually everyone will understand why blended learning is essential.

How can I get my audience to stay focused on my desired results? Wizardry would be nice, but I will have to  start with the heart and stay focused. Skilled people start with the heart; they begin high-risk discussions with the right motives and stay focused no matter what(Patterson, Grenny, McMillan & Switzler, 2002).   As I will be facing differing opinions, it will require some work and I will have reach deep down in my heart and share my passion behind my blended learning initiative and put the focus on my desired results. Fortuitously in my class we have studied and defined our “why” which is the key vision or purpose behind our change proposal.

Even though we are working towards a mutual purpose in our school district, for our faculty and students’ success, it is important that I learn to look for lack of mutual purpose and be aware of reactions as we share our new blended learning proposal.  I have to remind myself to lead the conversation with dialogue not defensiveness. If conversations sprial toward a downward path, I will protect the conversation from going downhill by stepping out of the conversation and redirect to make it safe again.

Crucial Conversations recommends telling or mastering your story.  I will share the facts and provided information from case studies to support my understanding and recommendation behind blended learning.

How can I speak persuasively not abrasively?  State your path:

Share your facts-Tell your story-Ask for other’s paths-Talk tentatively-Encourage testing.

The first three describe what to do, the last two tell how to do it(Patterson, Grenny, McMillan & Switzler, 2002).  As recommended my team will also incorporate the facts and conclusions supporting blended learning, we will state our path in a way that will make others feel safe sharing.  When you have the facts on your side, it’s hard to deny your argument. I will be tentative as I may share a story of a student’s experience with blended learning. I will explore others’ path and encourage others to share both their facts and experiences with blended learning. Finally I will make it safe for others to express differing opinions and I will address any issues.

Now it is time to move to action -Crucial Conversations places emphasis on crystal clear deliverables and who does what by when similar to 4Dx.  My team will bring the organizational change process together and Crucial Conversations will now be part of my strategy plan in its entirety including my “why” the components in my  Influencer Approach and 4Dx plan  which also determines who does what by when with clear focus and accountability.


Grenny, J., Patterson, K., Maxfield, D., McMillan, R., & Switzler, A. (2013). Influencer: The new science of leading change: 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

“John Kotter – The Heart of Change.” YouTube. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Aug. 2016.

McChesney, C., Covey, S., & Huling, J. (2012). The 4 disciplines of execution: Achieving your wildly important goals. New York, NY: Free Press.

Patterson, K.,  Grenny, J.,  McMillan, R. & Switzler, A. (2012). Crucial conversations: Tools for talking when stakes are high, second edition. McGraw-Hill.

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