THE FOUR CONVERSATIONS: Daily Communication that Gets Results

by Jeffrey Ford and Laurie Ford

AWARDED #1 BEST BOOK IN MANAGEMENT by 800 CEO-READ
Rated #5 BEST BUSINESS BOOK by
Toronto’s The Globe and Mail

Talk is powerful. Engaging in the right conversation at the right time is key to both personal and organizational success. And it’s not just ‘difficult’ or ‘crucial’ conversations that matter. The Four Conversations is a book (and now it’s also an online program too) that clearly demonstrates everyday dialogues needed for successful, satisfying, and productive relationships. In this book you will:

  • Discover how even little changes in the way you talk can produce extraordinarily positive outcomes,
  • Learn to get maximum results from four types of everyday conversations, and
  • Explore ways to put these four conversations into practice using sample dialogues and personal stories.

Armed with a solid body of research plus their own first-hand observations, Jeffrey and Laurie Ford describe four types of conversations that each of us can use to get things done: Initiative Conversations to introduce something new; Understanding Conversations to engage people in new ideas or processes; Performance Conversations to support commitment for taking specific actions and producing specific results; and Closure Conversations that complete the past and create a sense of accomplishment for yourself and others. Learn about the specific ingredients that make each of these conversations useful and effective — and see how the conversations can be put together in different ways to achieve different objectives.

The Four Conversations demonstrates how to use the right conversation at the right time — planning and starting each one well, and finishing conversations effectively — to improve the productivity we need while strengthening the value and connection that people want and deserve. Through dozens of personal stories and sample dialogues, the authors illustrate how real people in real situations have used the four conversations to effectively address common workplace problems and lay the foundations for enduring success: better relationships, stronger engagement in reaching goals, and an authentic sense of personal and professional achievement for everyone.

FREE ASSESSMENTS: SEE WHERE YOU STAND

The (free) Personal Communication Assessment contains 20 questions that allow you to see how proficient you are at the practices that make all of your conversations work. You will receive feedback to identify which conversations could use some practice and strengthening, and how to do that.

The (free) Workplace Assessment consists of 56 statements that describe a range of situations that are likely to compromise people’s effectiveness. It takes about 10 minutes to identify which workplace issues you observe most frequently. When you submit your responses, you will receive feedback on the workplace situations you see most often, grouped into 8 categories:

  • Lateness – People are waiting for work results or for people to show up;
  • Poor work quality – Work is incomplete, inaccurate, or not well done;
  • Difficult people – Some people are consistently hard to work with;
  • Lack of teamwork – People are not working together or not helping each other;
  • Poor planning and workload overwhelm – There is too much work and/or too little time to do it;
  • Insufficient resources and support – People don’t have what’s needed to do the work properly;
  • Lack of accountability – People don’t “own” their jobs and agreements; and
  • Incomplete conversations – Problems and projects linger without resolution.

Workers Don’t Just Work – They Also Know How to Think!

Empowering individuals and teams in the workplace is not just about pumping their self-esteem. You can make a toolkit available to support them in productive conversations and improving their abilities to collaborate, plan, test and implement organization processes, changes and solutions.

The Future of Work – It’s Not All Bad News

Two new views on how to organize workers and give them more opportunities for independent thinking and innovation are summarized in two articles – and these ideas are beginning to change workplaces. Especially as more workers are working at home, the idea of having them operate as “responsible adults” (as one article says) is changing the work of managers. We hope they are listening.

Management for Accomplishment, 1-2-3: Here is Step Three

All three steps – Alignment OF the people, Production BY the people, and Accomplishment FOR the people – are needed for effective management. Drop out one step and you are likely to diminish or prevent the alignment, the productivity, and the accomplishment. Management isn’t difficult when you break it down to what you want: the people engaged in their work, the job done well, and the real-world satisfaction for all in its accomplishment.

Listen to a Podcast with Jeffrey Ford, co-author of The Four Conversations:

Todd Sattersten, CEO of 800-CEO-READ, interviewed Jeffrey about The Four Conversations.  Click here to listen to that interview.

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