For most of us, the majority of relationships, both personal and professional, are informed, created and managed through conversation. It’s an incredibly important relational aspect of our lives, and in no profession is it more important than in education. While technology has helped facilitate communication - particularly over long distances, and in a more timely fashion - it has also made face-to-face conversations less prevalent.
Susan Scott’s, Fierce Conversations - Achieving Success at Work & in Life, One Conversation at a Time, is dedicated to the importance of having thoughtful, candid and focused conversation. She writes, “In it’s simplest form, a fierce conversation is one in which we come out from behind ourselves into the conversation and make it real.”
At the heart of the concept is the notion that Scott has termed ‘Mineral Rights’ and is a series of questions intended to accomplish the four purposes of a fierce conversation:
- Interrogate reality
- Provoke learning
- Tackle tough challenges
- Enrich relationships
An excellent guidebook for helping one tackle difficult conversations in a meaningful way, there are dozens of example questions to help facilitate such conversations, and assignments at the end of each section to help one fully understand the concepts. She also offers excellent pragmatic suggestions for helping the reader prepare for discussion so that it is a positive and focused use of time and energy.
Whether for use as a supervisor, a colleague or personally, Scott’s book is a wonderful professional development opportunity.