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A client recommended Conversational Capacity to me in advance of an off-site. I bought the book and we applied a couple of Weber’s ideas, such as the line (conversational capacity) marking the boundary between productive and unproductive conversations.
Much of my work involves increasing cohesion within a leader team and facilitating more productive collaboration, communication, and disagreement. I often leverage assessments that highlight our differences and diverse perspectives. This understanding of ourselves and others allows us to work more productively together, if we so choose.
Weber provides an additional way to look at tough conversations, where the initial benchmark is the topics themselves. We find that some topics are easily and productively discussed, while others are avoided or discussed in unproductive ways. To increase the number of productively-discussed topics, a team must practice the discipline of balancing curiosity and candor.
Weber also shows how greater conversational capacity allows for expanded thinking and adaptive learning. Instead of being caught in unproductive single loops of action-results, leaders can learn to engage in double-loop learning, where they challenge their own assumptions and create effective change.
A short time after exploring Conversational Capacity, I was able to recommend the book to another client during an off-site. Those executives found it so on-point that they read the book together during the early days of the COVID-19 crisis, with great results. I think Weber’s book can help your team too.
Reviewed by Jamey Gadoury
Conversational Capacity by Craig Weber