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Corporate Team Building

Book Review

Fierce Conversations

by Susan Scott

In Fierce Conversations, Susan Scott creates a guide for making conversations count in our personal and professional lives based on over ten thousand hours of one-to-one conversations with industry leaders and numerous personal and professional growth workshops.

Why “fierce conversations?” Scott explains that by fierce she means robust, intense, powerful and that “in its simplest form, a fierce conversation is one in which we come out from behind ourselves into the conversation and make it real.”

The chapters in this book are organized around Scott’s Seven Principles of Fierce Conversations:

  • Master the courage to interrogate reality.
  • Come out from behind yourself into the conversation and make it real.
  • Be here, prepared to be nowhere else.
  • Tackle your toughest challenge today.
  • Obey your instincts.
  • Take responsibility for your emotional wake.
  • Let silence do the heavy lifting.

The author further explores each principle by sharing stories from her personal experiences, referencing other’s work on the subject and introducing various processes, exercises and assignments for the reader. These include a process for facilitating a team issue discussion complete with facilitator guidelines, a list of common mistakes made during one-to-ones, and tips for preparing for fierce conversations.

Scott’s writing style is conversational and inviting; the ideas laid out in a logical progression, culminating with pointed questions and unique suggestions such as: “Have a conversation with yourself—are there differences between official truths and ground truths in your workplace? Or “Conduct a corporate integrity scan.”

Read this and you’ll gain some knowledge and a desire to experience fierce conversations, and be reminded that “Life is curly. Don’t try to straighten it out.”