Silence Fails: The 5 Crucial Conversations for Flawless Execution - Best Practice Institute
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Silence Fails: The 5 Crucial Conversations for Flawless Execution

Presenter: David Maxfield, VP of Research, VitalSmarts


83% of employees say they are working on projects, programs and initiatives that they believe will fail. Never has the ability to execute been more important. Careers, goals and even entire companies depend on their ability to achieve results by executing flawlessly on high stakes projects. And yet, statistics show fewer than one in three critical initiatives will achieve its intended goals. Almost half are deemed outright failures.

New research shows that these failures are largely predictable—-and, therefore, preventable. In the groundbreaking Silence Fails study of over 2200 such projects, researchers found that project failures are almost always preceded by conversation failures. Specifically, they found that success and failure can be predicted with 85% accuracy based on how well participants from the executive suites to cross-functional teams perform in five crucial conversations. More importantly, these five conversations can be not just a predictor of but an inoculation against shockingly high rates of failure to execute on ambitious and otherwise right-headed plans. When leaders are skilled at holding these five conversations, the odds of success increase 50-80%.

For more than twenty-five years, David Maxfield has helped companies by leading research projects involving dialogue skills, performance improvement, and conflict management. David’s career began with his doctoral work in psychology at Stanford University. His impact on organizational performance has been wide reaching as he’s helped clients such as Hewlett Packard, IBM, Ford Motor Company, Covenant Healthcare, and VISA increase organizational effectiveness and become measurably more vital.

In this engaging, interactive and hard-hitting session, David will teach practical, actionable skills participants can use today to begin engaging more effectively in these emotionally and politically risky conversations. The result will be immediate improvements in decision making, higher quality execution of mission-critical plans, and improved engagement of those leading these projects.


David Maxfield

VP of Research, VitalSmarts

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60 Minutes