Fierce Conversations

Debra Crombie President of Sterling Training Group

Let’s take a fictional episode that might occur on any course, anywhere in the States. Jake is an experienced, seasoned golf course superintendent with decades under his belt. But with COVID, he’s addressing some unusual human resource management challenges. In the first place, several workers haven’t been showing up because they are getting higher wages from unemployment. One employee who was showing up now has to stay home to take care of his young children. On top of everything else, an element of unrest has entered the workplace after the George Floyd event. Jake can see he needs to have some ‘come-to-the-mountain’ meetings with several individuals on his staff, but frankly, he feels out of his element.

Jake may be fictional, but this scenario isn’t necessarily unrealistic. As tensions and stress affect us all, golf course executives are facing greater hurdles than ever before and may need a little extra instruction on how to handle tough situations. Particularly when it comes to managing people, there comes a time when you need to have difficult conversations. In the September 2020 edition of Golf Course Trades’ sister publication — Resort Trades — an article, “Pro Tips: How To Successfully Navigate Difficult Conversations & Elevate Your Communications,” by Wendy Poe, shares ideas from a life coach, Debra Crombie. (We’ve excerpted the meat of the article below.)

Crombie will also appear in a live online networking event as part of the Resort Trades’ “Lunch Bunch” series. (This is a casual, Friday get-together during which professionals of various walks provide quick blasts of actionable advice and contemporary leadership expertise.) The following excerpt explains a little more about Crombie’s approach to facing the kinds of issues a ‘Jake’ might need to address:

“If you can get comfortable with confrontation, you will take your leadership skills to another echelon. Conflict is inevitable, yet the best leaders use tough situations to grow and understand different perspectives. There are significant financial impacts to not resolving conflicts in the workplace including stress-related illness, failed projects and even personal attacks. While delivering difficult messages can be uncomfortable, the positive payoffs in “emotional capital” are undeniable.

“In 2002, Susan Scott wrote her ground-breaking book, Fierce Conversations, to give business leaders (and friends and parents) a thought-provoking framework to elevate their communications with skillful and courageous dialogue. Her basic premise is that our conversations ARE the relationship and we succeed or fail — one conversation at a time. Her principles and training tools were formulated from 14 years of executive think tanks. Her firm, Fierce Conversations, Inc. has trained and certified thousands of leaders in their methodology through Executive Coaching, Training and Leadership Programs.

“Working with the end in mind, Fierce Conversations seeks to help devotees effectively assess challenges and tackle them head-on, while prompting deeper learning and more meaningful relationships.”

If you are interested in attending, Crombie is providing a segment of her coaching curriculum, free-of-charge, online on September 11, 2020, beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET. Visit to register.

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