Conversational Capacity by Craig Weber - Book review

Conversational Capacity

The Secret to Building Successful Teams That Perform When the Pressure Is On

By: Craig Weber

Published: March 26, 2013
Format: Paperback, 208 pages
ISBN-10: 0071807128
ISBN-13: 978-0071807128
Publisher: McGraw-Hill

"The focus of this book is on improving teams and teamwork, and my definition of team is fairly expansive: A team is any group of people working together in the pursuit of a mutual goal", writes international consultant specializing in team and leadership development, Craig Weber, in his very hands on and results oriented book Conversational Capacity: The Secret to Building Successful Teams That Perform When the Pressure Is On. The author describes the critical importance of effective teams to organizational success, the many challenges that derail teams from achieving their goals, and how to overcome those obstacles though the principle of conversational capacity.

Craig Weber Understands that despite the crucial importance of teams to company success, effective and high achieving teams are very difficult to create. The author presents the principle of conversational capacity, as the fundamental building block for establishing successful teams, who achieve results even in difficult times. The teams built utilizing this technique are healthier, sustainable, and effective.

Craig Weber cautions leaders than creating these conditions requires a transformation in the way leaders and team members think, act, and behave. Paradoxically, writes the author, the traditionally sought after values of liking, trusting and respecting team members decreases conversational capacity, requiring a fresh approach from conventional strategies. Many leaders blame the failure of teams on human nature, but Craig Weber offers the alternative idea that human nature provides the real solution.

Craig Weber (photo left) recognizes that teams face enormous challenges in their quest to achieve their goals. The author points out that teams face both routine problems and active challenges. Foe routine problems affecting teams, there are methods for knowing what do and how to solve these obstacles. Adaptive challenges are more difficult as there are no standard solutions to getting past these barriers.

The author provides the strategy for overcoming even the most difficult adaptive challenge through the application of conversational capacity. The outline and practices for utilizing conversational capacity are as follows:

* Conversational capacity: The missing piece of the puzzle
* Intentional conflict: Why good intentions are never enough
* Beyond fight and flight: A more intentional mindset
* Intentional dialogue: Skills for balancing candor with curiosity
* Cultivating our better angels
* Conversational capacity and the value of conflict
* Conversational capacity and adaptive learning
* The work of building a disciplined team
* Conversational capacity and the challenge of team leadership
* The road less traveled

For me, the power of the book is how Craig Weber combines a comprehensive theoretical framework for creating and maintaining effective teams, with the practical techniques and exercises necessary to build strong teams. The author presents the principles and practices of conversational capacity in an accessible and readily applicable format. The real key to the presentation is the ability to utilize the book for its overall thematic approach to team creation and building. The book can be read and put into practice as a whole; or used later as a resource to overcome specific obstacles that face the team.

Unlike many books on building teams, Craig Weber doesn't emphasize trust, liking one another, and mutual respect as the the most desirable traits of successful teams. In fact, the author takes a realist vision of human nature as having friction, disagreements, and even lack of respect. Instead of these problems being weaknesses that could destroy the team, Craig Weber transforms them into positives that strengthen the overall team through real and open conversation.

I highly recommend the clear and concise book Conversational Capacity: The Secret to Building Successful Teams That Perform When the Pressure Is On by Craig Weber, to any CEOs, HR professionals, entrepreneurs, project managers, and team leaders who are seeking a very straightforward and practical book on creating sustainable and effective teams. This book will change how you build and lead teams , and also how you develop and behave in your own cations as a team leader.

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