fierce conversations

A weekly Rector’s Notes article, September 16, 2019

Fierce conversations is a leading business model that addresses many of the issues facing modern corporations today. From their website, Fierce describes their program as having the following result:

In Fierce Conversations training, your team will learn: 1) what to talk about, 2) how to talk about it effectively, and 3) why it matters to the bottom line. You’ll address real-world scenarios in pragmatic workshops with sticky takeaways. Fierce will show you how to have conversations that spark action and boost your bottom line.

The success or failure of your business happens one conversation at time. If your team can’t talk about what matters, you’ll continue to waste time and money while turf wars rage, employees text under the table and projects grind to a halt. When you learn to have effective conversations, the chaos will clear and business will grow.

So, why are we asking members of a church to engage in this work?

There are a lot of similarities between how the church should (and should not) operate, and the best practices of the world’s leading business. We have a product (of sorts) and we need to know how best to communicate that product that informs and educates our values, and does so in a way that is beneficial not just to the “consumer” but also to those who are sharing the information. By taking this training, we begin the process of understanding how we as a parish can engage in Fierce Conversations so that we are always moving forward as a parish, sharing and engaging with all in our community in a way that inspires, is exceptionally clear and concise, and above all else challenges us to rise to the opportunities to be our own greatest asset in sharing the mission and ministry of this place.

The Episcopal Church as a whole, and St. Stephen’s is certainly not an exception, is an introverted denomination full of introverted people. By taking the Fierce Conversations model and incorporating it into our way of processing our life together and how we share that life with the world around us, we develop tools for all in our parish to be able to engage in meaningful conversation with anyone we encounter, inspiring us to take on the leadership of this place as we look to what we can accomplish together in the future.

I myself straddle that line between introvert and extrovert. At Church however, I can tap into that extroverted side because I feel empowered both through my own training and my position to be a voice of authority. Fierce Conversations training is an opportunity for our parish to develop more leaders in this mold. This training may come across somewhat off-putting at first glance, due to a perceived confrontational nature, but that again addresses an underlying current that is very real in our church: a desire to avoid any and all conflict. What makes Fierce Conversations training so great is that it gives us the tools to work around and through conflict by holding space for one another to engage and be heard.

When we meet the four criteria of a Fierce Conversation: interrogate reality, provoke learning, tackle tough challenges, and enrich relationships, we cannot help but grow the connections and relationships in our parish, and create a space where people are excited to join our community because we offer a fresh perspective and a clear direction.

I hope that you will join us for this training!

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