Fierce Conversations

Book Review: Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott

Dave Kinnear 1-On Leadership, Book Reviews

I learned of this book from a training session at Vistage International, Inc.(formerly TEC International). Ms. Susan Scott starts her book with a definition of fierce: robust, intense, strong, powerful, passionate, eager, unbridled. From there, she guides the reader through a workshop of developing a taste for Fierce Conversations. Also right up front are the seven principles of Fierce Conversation, the rest of the book fleshes out with examples and worksheets how to embrace and achieve fierce conversations.

The seven principles are given as (1) Master the courage to interrogate reality; (2) Come out from behind yourself into conversation and make it real; (3) Be here, prepared to be nowhere else; (4) Tackle your toughest challenge today; (5) Obey your instincts; (6) Take responsibility for your emotional wake; and (7) Let silence do the heavy lifting.

Throughout the book are “assignments,” templates, and worksheets for the serious reader. Depending on your personality, you may wish to read through the book and then return for the assignments and worksheets. You may also find this book to be an excellent resource for coaching and mentoring or for ideas on exercises for groups you facilitate.

Ms. Scott gets her points across with engaging stories from her work with CEO leaders and their teams. From these and other sources come a plethora of memorable sayings, quotes, and phrases to keep us focused on the goals: “Sometimes we put so many pillows around a message that the message gets lost altogether.” “If your employees believe their job is to do what you tell them, you’re sunk.” And my personal favorite; “All conversations are with myself, and sometimes they involve other people.”

Any person interested in having more meaningful and effective conversations, anyone engaged in executive coaching, and anyone who regularly facilitates meetings will benefit from using this book to initiate a fierce conversation with him or herself.

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