Solve Any Confrontation with CPR

You might be thinking how can CPR solve a confrontation!?

I’m not talking about cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

When watching others confront problems, many of us don’t notice the difference between those who hold conversations well and those who don’t. The best people at holding tough conversations raise different topics. They confront different problems.

When we conducted our original research, we spent ten thousand hours watching people with a natural talent for holding effective confrontations. These people tended to have the ability to dial-in on what exactly needed to be discussed.

One of these experiences was in a meeting that was a swirl of activity and discussion. At one an individual stopped the whole discussion to say, “You know what? I think there are three different issues that we’re discussing here. And this, I believe, is the most important one.”

It organised the entire conversation.

In complete agreement, the use of what we call CPR had the ability to unwrap this complex set of issues and pick precisely the right one to discuss.

How To Solve Any Confrontation with CPR

There are three different kinds of issues that you can confront. The first is content. This has to do with the immediate problem.

Here’s the mistake most of us make: we tend to deal with the immediate pain or issue at hand at the expense of the more important one.


This is entirely different from content. It’s not about the single instance, but a pattern of concern—a pattern of behaviour.

When you try to hold a pattern confrontation, nine times out of ten, the other person will try to drag you back to the content—to the most recent instance.

If you say, “Your reports are characteristically sloppy and you’re often late,” they’re going to revert back to the last report and try to explain it away. If you let them change the topic, you lose because you’ll walk away dissatisfied.

There are three signs that you’re confronting the wrong problem:

  1. Escalated Emotions
  2. If in the course of the crucial confrontation you’re getting more and more upset, it’s a sign you’re probably on the wrong topic.

  3. Repeated Confrontations
  4. If you find yourself having the same conversation over and over again, you are having the wrong conversation. You’re confronting the wrong problem. If you’re confronting content it’s probably pattern. If you’re confronting pattern it’s probably relationship.

  5. Dissatisfaction

If you walk away with a solution that you don’t believe is going to work and you feel dissatisfied, then you probably held the wrong confrontation.


Comes in three types:

  1. Trust – I don’t trust you anymore.
  2. Competence – I don’t think you’re competent.This is a different kind of confrontation than, “You’ve made mistakes in the last three reports.”
  3. Respect – I don’t think you respect me.

Learn to step back from the conversation and analyse the contentpattern, and relationship concerns.

Ask yourself, “What do I really want?” – It’s important to know what outcome you want to achieve before having a crucial conversation.

Learn the skill, apply it, and it will make a profound difference in your capacity to hold crucial conversations.

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