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Dealing with the Tough Stuff: How to Achieve Results from Crucial Conversations by Alison Hill, Sean Richardson, Darren Hill

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Chapter 9

Dealing with the off-the-cuff stuff—building skills to handle immediate crisis

A man has no more character than he can command in a time of crisis.

Ralph W. Sockman, professor of practical theology

You may have heard it said that people show their true colours when they are under pressure. In psychology-speak, we say that the default response, the most well-worn brain pattern, is the one that shows up when the proverbial stuff hits the fan. The question is: how effective is your default response inside the pressure cooker of sudden, unexpected tough stuff in your workplace? Do you manage this off-the-cuff stuff well, and produce positive outcomes during a crisis? Or is that the very moment that things tend to fall apart?

A crisis presents as a particular type of tough stuff, most often characterised by unexpectedness, uncertainty, a threat to important goals or a change to demands.

We believe there are three keys areas to address in effectively dealing with a crisis. They are:

  • how you turn up to a crisis situation
  • how you deal with the aftermath
  • how you prepare for future crisis events.

In this chapter we will unpack these points and discuss how you can apply them to the off-the-cuff stuff in your workplace.

How you turn up to a crisis

Successfully dealing with tough stuff that occurs in the moment rarely requires just a reactive response. Most, if not all leaders who handle the off-the-cuff stuff well share a common characteristic: they proactively arm themselves with ...

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