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Authentic Conversations

Moving from Manipulation to Truth and Commitment

James Showkeir


List Price: 19.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback, Large Print, Large Print (2/18/2009)


In this groundbreaking new book, Jamie and Maren Showkeir take something people typically think of as merely functional—ordinary conversation—and show how it can lead to a workforce that is engaged and energized or to one that is alienated and uninspired. All too often workplace conversations create what the authors call parent-child relationships. People hide facts, sugarcoat reality, and claim helplessness to try to control the interaction and get what they want. The Showkeirs demonstrate how we can move to honest and authentic interactions: adult conversations that create increased commitment, true accountability, and improved business performance. They offer examples of parent-child and adult-adult workplace conversations in a variety of settings and provide a hands-on guide, including sample scripts, for dealing with a host of potentially difficult conversations.

Praise For Authentic Conversations: Moving from Manipulation to Truth and Commitment

“After thirty-five years working in newspapers and nine more as a ‘school readiness’ advocate, I wished I had read this book decades ago. It would have helped so much. Its basic theme of honest, respectful conversations is the answer to so much in business and in life.”
—David Lawrence Jr., President, The Early Childhood Initiative Foundation, and retired publisher, The Miami Herald

“The Showkeirs have written a book that gives us the tools for conversations that can help us create a shared purpose and the future we hope for. This authentic approach is essential not only for business results but for any conversation that is important to you.”
—Nancy Light, Senior Associate Director of Philanthropy, The Nature Conservancy, Maine Chapter

“This book is for everyone, from the CEO to the everyday employee, who is serious about working in an organization in which every person has a deep personal commitment to the success of the business. The concepts and practical steps outlined in this book are easy to under- stand and are a genuine source of sustainable competitive advantage. This book offers us hope.”
—Jim Burke, Regional Director of Human Resources, Asia Pacific, Watson Wyatt Worldwide

“If you believe that conversations change the world and if you have a passion for organizations that work, you will want this book. This book has the combination of relevance, inspiration, and actionable steps that I seek in books.”
—John Schuster, Principal, Schuster Kane Alliance, and author of The Power of Open-Book Management and Answering Your Call

“This book is about sharing the truth with each other in ways that build effective relationships and improve business results. It is not a fairy tale but an honest, hard-hitting book. And it’s not just for lead- ers or managers—it is for everyone in your organization. If you want to compete successfully in the world marketplace, you need Authentic Conversations.”
—Dr. Kent M. Keith, CEO, Greenleaf Center for Servant– Leadership, and author of Anyway: The Paradoxical Commandments

“I can’t remember the last time I was this excited about a book on corporate cultures and leadership. Authentic Conversations gets to the heart of what is really going on in organizations, presents persuasive business reasons for change, and puts forth a proven strategy to get on with unleashing the organization’s buried and dormant core potential. It left me wanting more.”
—Patrick J. Banks, PhD, President, Banks International, LLC

“The Showkeirs’ take on using conversations for cultural transformation is refreshing and eminently logical. They challenge much of the conventional wisdom about managing people. This book teaches us how to intrinsically inspire individuals to choose to succeed.”
—Bob Gremillion, Executive Vice President, Tribune Publishing Company

“The Showkeirs’ new book envisions organizations where employees treat each other as business partners, colleagues, and trusted advisors, allowing the wisdom of the organization to emerge. For leaders ready to share power in order to build an organization that is stronger, more responsive, more flexible, and more focused on serving customers, this book is a field manual for changing cultures. It is a must read.”
—Melvin D. Dowdy, PhD, Executive Director, Center for Organizational Excellence, Bon Secours Richmond Health System

“Authentic Conversations is one of the most important books I’ve read in years. It makes a compelling case for the great benefits—both for people and for organizations—that can come from engaging in true conversation.”
—Larry C. Spears, President and CEO, The Spears Center for Servant-Leadership, Inc.

“Authentic Conversations gives us a chance to renew and revive a lost art and essential foundational element so our society can be viable. Additionally, this book gives us models for how to have conversations for those who have never been exposed to an authentic conversation.”
—Corwin Harper, Senior Vice President/Area Manager, Kaiser Permanente

Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 9781576755952, 240pp.

Publication Date: September 8, 2008

About the Author

James and Maren Showkeir are principals of henning-showkeir & associates, inc., whose clients include 3M, Ford Motor Company, Kaiser Permanente, British Airways, Coca-Cola, Hewlett-Packard, Levi Strauss, the Greenleaf Center for Servant-Leadership, and the Nature Conservancy.
James and Maren Showkeir are principals of henning-showkeir & associates, inc., whose clients include 3M, Ford Motor Company, Kaiser Permanente, British Airways, Coca-Cola, Hewlett-Packard, Levi Strauss, the Greenleaf Center for Servant-Leadership, and the Nature Conservancy.