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A Safe Place for Dangerous Truths

Book Description

No more "checking for feet." This illuminating guide gets people to tell the truth at the meeting--not in the bathroom afterwards. Almost everybody does it--lie, that is. In one recent survey 93% of people admitted to lying regularly at work! Why? Because it's safer than telling the truth. Sadly, organizations cannot succeed in this poisonous world of half-truths, strategic omissions, and doctored information. To function optimally, businesses must create an environment where people feel free to tell the truth, no matter how disturbing. Only then can organizations unleash the responsiveness, creativity, and enthusiasm necessary to achieve their goals. This unique book shows how, using the formal process of "dialogue," such a place can be built. In a lively discussion, the author shows managers how to use this technique to encourage truth-telling by reducing fear, prompting self-examination, and opening minds * build trust where suspicion and cynicism held sway * inspire individuals to think and learn as a group * help groups talk through tough issues and move to collaborative action.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Half title
  3. Title
  4. Contents
  5. Acknowledgments
  6. Introduction
  7. Part 1: Dialogue Defined
    1. 1 Why Dialogue?
      1. Shooting in the Dark
      2. Thinking New Thoughts
      3. The “Real Problem”
      4. Dialogue Skills for Dangerous Truths
      5. Learning Schmearning
      6. Reengineering Communication
      7. If People Were Cows
      8. Collective Learning Disabilities
      9. Coherence
      10. Group Self-Awareness
      11. Collective Introspection
      12. Shared Action
    2. 2 How Hard Can It Be?
      1. What’s the Big “D”?
      2. Finding a Choir to Preach To
      3. Selling Dialogue
      4. Go Big Picture and Benefits
      5. Remember a Time When
      6. A Credible Process
      7. Mapping the Mental Terrain
      8. Making Dialogue User-Friendly
    3. 3 The Five Stages of Dialogue
      1. Group Dynamics 101
      2. Conflict as a Raw Material to Innovation
      3. A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words
      4. Form, Storm, Norm, and Perform With a Developmental Twist
      5. False Clarity
    4. 4 When the Group Doesn’t Wanna Go There
      1. Expanding Personal Responsibility
      2. Resistance Is Natural
      3. Sounds Like a Personal Problem
      4. Paths of Least Resistance
      5. The Four Group Escape Strategies
      6. The “Flight” Avoidance Strategy
      7. The “Fight” Avoidance Strategy
      8. The “Pairing” Avoidance Strategy
      9. The “Dependency” Avoidance Strategy
      10. When the Ego Doesn’t Wanna Hear It
      11. Developing Mental Agility
      12. The Four Individual Escape Strategies
      13. Tenacity
      14. Factumptionism
      15. Reductionism
      16. Distancing
      17. Brain Training
  8. Part 2: With All That Going Against You: The How-To’s of Dialogue
    1. 5 Before You Begin
      1. Cornfield and a Shotgun
      2. Can’t Make ’Em Drink
      3. Thirsty?
      4. Speed Kills
      5. Quality Can Be Inconvenient
      6. Being There
      7. It Takes How Long?
      8. What Are We Going to Discuss?
    2. 6 It’s All in the Setup
      1. Setting the Climate
      2. A Safe Place for Dangerous Truths
      3. Dare We Hope?
      4. Raise the Bar
      5. I’m In
      6. I’ll Drive
      7. Where Is It That We Are Going?
      8. Smorgasbord of Rules
      9. Their Process, Not Yours
    3. 7 The Goal
      1. Faith
      2. Soft Eyes
      3. The Basic Group Skills of Dialogue
      4. The Ability to See Judgments
      5. Heretical Thinking
      6. Curiosity to Hear Opposite Views
      7. Personal Responsibility
    4. 8 Structure for an Unstructured Process
      1. The Basics
      2. Rounds
      3. Psychological Silence
      4. Intervention of Awareness
      5. Intervention to Facilitate New Skills
      6. Silence
      7. Stories
      8. Bringing It to Closure
      9. The Balance
  9. Part 3: Building Blocks: Seven Basic Facilitator Skills
    1. 9 Taking the Pulse of the Group
      1. Background Material Will Make You Go Blind
      2. Who Are You?
      3. Process, Not Content
      4. Hell-l-l-o-o-o?
      5. Flexibility
      6. Find Their Desire
    2. 10 Taking Responsibility to Not Take Responsibility
      1. Retooling Basic Expectations
      2. Creating a Vacuum of Responsibility (or Sucking Them In)
      3. Helping Things “Get Out of Hand”
      4. Don’t Become a Load-Bearing Wall
      5. Being a Good Lifeguard
      6. The Culture of Dependence
      7. Accountability of Another Kind
    3. 11 Mind-Sets and Preempts
      1. Theory of Dissipative Structures
      2. Giving Ego a Job
      3. Without Pointing Fingers
      4. Let Them Make the Connection
      5. “This Way to Dialogue” Signs
      6. Choosing Mind-Sets
      7. Now or Never
    4. 12 The Socratic Method
      1. Socrates—More Than One Voice
      2. Don’t Give Them Fish—Help Them Learn How to Fish
      3. A Midwife Assists
      4. Experience Is the Best Teacher
      5. Hiding From Reality
      6. The Wrong Questions
      7. Awakening Perplexity
      8. Asking Good Questions
      9. Finding the Spirit of Inquiry
      10. Believe They Can Do It
      11. Awaken the Desire
      12. Let Them Discover Their Barriers
      13. Avoiding the Hemlock Response
    5. 13 Egoless-ness
      1. How to Become Unnecessary
      2. The Seduction of Being in Front of the Room
      3. In the Presence of Your Equals
      4. Body Language
      5. Don’t Hold That Thought
      6. Cockiness: An Early Warning System
      7. The Fear of Looking Uninvolved, Uninterested, or Unimportant
      8. Common Ego Trip-Ups
    6. 14 Storytelling
      1. When Nothing Else Can Break Through
      2. A Common Experience
      3. Dangerous Truths
      4. Stories That Stimulate Introspection
      5. Developmental Stages
      6. Oral Language
      7. The Magic of “Irrelevant Detail”
      8. The Greatest Sin: A Boring Story
      9. The Power of Stories
    7. 15 Modeling
      1. Walk Your Talk
      2. Facilitate Yourself
      3. But Didn’t You Just Say . . . ?
      4. Let Me “See”
      5. From Either/Or to Both/And
      6. When You Screw Up
    8. 16 Dialogue in the Real World
      1. You Can’t Have a Conversation With That Many People
      2. We Don’t Have a Whole Day
      3. You Must Have an Agenda to Accomplish Anything
      4. Sometimes It’s Not a Good Idea to Tell the Truth
      5. Relinquishing Control Is Dangerous—Someone Might Get Hurt
      6. No Leader Should Mean No Facilitator
      7. Being More Than Doing
  10. Appendix: A Recipe for Dialogue
  11. Bibliography
  12. Index
  13. Copyright