Last November, we had the pleasure of delivering a keynote and panel discussion at the WAVE annual event for trailblazing women in corporate America. WAVE stands for Women Adding Value & Excellence. This three-year-old volunteer organization is the brainchild of Susan Baxley of Teradata and Christine Tombelesi of GE. The title for the event: The Conversation - From Thorns to Roses: How People Deal with Critical Conversations was a regular request from leaders in the organization. The event was held at the UPS headquarters, with the keynote immediately followed by a lively panel discussion with four spectacular women representing UPS, W.W. Grainger, GE Capital, and Google.
These four leaders shared personal stories and insights the audience found both practical and revealing. One of them confessed that, in fact, early in her career, she was terrible at this skill but gained confidence in tackling the most difficult of conversations through practice and preparation.
After the event, we shared our Difficult Conversation prep sheet and were surprised by the number of people who downloaded the form and wrote us notes or emails thanking us for the tool.
Realizing we were onto to something, we began to ask about the most common conversations people struggle with at work. After collecting the data from the poll and having several subsequent interviews with clients around their angst with difficult conversations, we sat down to craft a practical book that offered solutions to both individuals and organizations struggling to disarm difficult conversations at work.
In April 2014, we published our first book, Tough Talk: 10 Tips for Disarming Difficult Conversations.
We are off to a terrific start with our first book, with several companies and organizations asking us to keynote or deliver a workshop on difficult conversations in the workplace. We are delighted we listened to the wisdom of our clients. There are too many difficult conversations in today's work environments and we are hoping to do our part to change that for the better.