IN THIS SUMMARY
Behind the problems that plague organizations are individuals who cannot, or will not, deal with broken promises and violated expectations. The problems often involve broken rules, missed deadlines, and simply disregarding assignments. If managers do decide to step up to the issue, they frequently do it poorly and risk creating a whole new set of problems. Others, out of fear, shrink from confronting the issue altogether. Crucial Confrontations teaches the skills needed to successfully face and work through issues, whether they are in the workplace or at home. A crucial confrontation is a face-to-face accountability discussion. If it is handled well, the problem is solved and the relationship benefits. Being successful requires not a policy, but a set of skills. The first step is to determine what and if. The specific issue that needs to be confronted has to be clearly identified, along with the risks of having the confrontation versus the risks of not having it. Instead of always assuming the worst about the other person, managers should ask themselves: What is the rest of the story? Why would a reasonable person behave in this manner? Rather than leading with possibly inaccurate conclusions and accusations, managers should simply describe the gap. Make it safe for the other person by sticking to the facts and by clearly describing the gap between what was expected and what was observed. Is the problem due to motivation, ability, or both? Further, managers should explore all the possible sources of influence on the person. Once the cause is determined, they should make it as easy—and as motivating—as possible to carry out the completion of the task or assignment. Managers should develop a plan to allow for appropriate follow-up. Finally, to ensure success during the confrontation, it is important to remain focused and flexible. If new problems emerge during the confrontation, it is essential to remain flexible enough to deal with them—without getting sidetracked from the original issue.