“You can’t say something to the boss about our upcoming
move. It’ll cost you your job.”
To these people we say: Remember Kevin? He, and almost every
other opinion leader we’ve ever studied, has what it takes to speak up and maintain respect. Maybe you don’t know what Kevin did or
what you need to do-but don’t deny the existence of Kevin or peo
ple l ike him. There is a third set of options out there that allows you
tu add meaning to the pool and build on the relationship.
42 CRUCIAL CONVERSATIONS
When we (the authors) are in the middle of an on-site work shop and we suggest there are alternatives to Sucker’s Choicesj someone invariably says: “Maybe you can speak honestly and
still be heard in other organizations, but if you try it here, you’ll be eaten alive!” Or the flip side: “You’ve got to know when to fold if you want to survive for another day.” Then in a hail of “I’ll say!” and “Here, here! ” many nod in agreement.
At first, we thought that maybe there were places where dia logue couldn’t survive. But then we learned to ask: “Are you say ing there isn’t anyone you know who is able to hold a high-risk conversation in a way that solves problems and builds relation ships?” There usually is.
SUMMARY-START WITH HEART
Here’s how people who are skilled at dialogue stay focused on their goals-particularly when the going gets tough.
Work on Me First
• Remember that the only person you can directly control is
Focus on What You Real ly Want
• When you find yourself moving toward silence or violencej stop and pay attention to your motives.
• Ask yourself: “What does my behavior tell me about what
my motives are?”
• Then, clarify what you really want. Ask yourself: “What do I want for myself? For others? For the relationship?”
• And finally, ask: “How would I behave if this were what I really wanted?”
START WITH HEART 43
Refuse the Sucker’s Choice
• As you consider what you want, notice when you start talking
yourself into a Sucker’s Choice.
• Watch to see if you’re telling yourself that you must choose between peace and honesty, between winning and losing, and so on.