The importance of mutual purpose and respect

Wouldn’t it be neat to get an email like the one in the quote section below?

Winner! Winner! Winner! YOU have been selected as the team to present, “Crucial Conversations” to the district leadership team in 1.5 hours.

What an opportunity! What would YOU do?

For fun, what would this look like as a Problem-based Learning Enhanced Professional Learning opportunity? Here’s what I mean by PBL-enhanced:

The wonder of the PBL approach as employed with adult learners is that they will not perceive your workshop as a long, boring exploration of a topic at the periphery of consciousness. 

The CC approach can be done via individuals to answer this question:

What conversations are you not having that are keeping you from advancing or moving forward in your organization? 

or, another way:

What conversations are we not having as district leaders that are keeping the organization from advancing or moving forward?

Either way, here’s one way to approach it:

Given 90 minutes (1.5 hours)….

  1. 15 minutes: Introduce them to what strategies we really want them to get out of the Crucial books and want them to apply in work setting. I would recommend breaking them up into small groups to explore various resources (e.g. videos, print documents) that summarize the key ideas, and have them share back to the large group.
  2. No Time – This takes ahead of the session, so no impact on time to present: Craft a scenario that reflects current undiscussables in the organization, or, if preferred, common situations between individuals they are sure to encounter. The scenario should include a variety of stakeholders. Another variation would be to craft multiple scenarios, then have different groups work through them (Step 4 below).
    — What information, processes or strategies do we really want them to learn?
    — Why is it important that they learn this?
    — What problems or issues would they be able to resolve with the information, processes, strategies they’ve learned?
  3. 5 minutes: Share the scenario with staff.
  4. 30 minutes: Facilitate the following in large group:
    1. develop hunches/guesses about the problem,
    2. share what they know based on the scenario (find the facts),
    3. write questions about what they want/need to know to help solve the problem
    4. prioritize the questions and organize them according to various stakeholder groups (e.g. principal, district leaders, teachers, community, board members).
  5. 20 minutes: Divide leadership staff into stakeholder groups represented in the scenario. Then, have them craft solutions to the scenario that address the questions and
  6. 20 minutes: Teams present the Crucial key concepts introduced to them.

Of course, I’m just playing with the ideas here. Is this too much?

Check out Miguel’s Workshop Materials online at

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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