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Workscripts: Perfect Phrases for High-Stakes Conversations by Mark Levine, Stephen M. Pollan

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Chapter 2. WORKPLACE BOMBSHELLS

With the workplace more unpredictable and chaotic than ever before, I believe there are no more important workplace conversations to master than those dealing with dramatic transitions, the announcements that explode like bombshells in the office.

You might think that in a time when terminations are so common, scripts dealing with those difficult conversations should take priority. While they do of necessity figure prominently in this book, I don't think they're the most important for one simple reason: they almost always represent a fait accompli—an irreversible action. As you'll read when I do cover these scenarios, there's no point trying to argue once a termination agreement has been reached. Energy should instead be directed toward mitigating the impact.

Workplace bombshells are so important because they represent the opposite of a foregone conclusion. The situation is in flux, nothing is established, so you have as much opportunity as you ever will in today's workplace to influence eventual outcomes. Sure, a new boss may already have a personnel plan in place, but since it hasn't yet been enacted you can give them reason to change it. Similarly, employees may have preconceived notions about what a new boss, a relocation, or a reorganization means for their futures, but you still have a chance to affect their reactions.

Whatever transition conversation you're facing, and whatever side you're on in the dialogue, it's important you take into account ...

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