Jim Detert, "Choosing Courage: The Everyday Guide to Being Brave at Work" (HBR, 2021)

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Retaining Freedom After Speech

Today I talked to Jim Detert about his book Choosing Courage: The Everyday Guide to Being Brave at Work (Harvard Business Review Press, 2021)

Jim Detert is the John L. Colley Professor of Business Administration at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He’s won multiple awards for his teaching and curriculum development at both UVA and Cornell University.

The title of this episode comes from a quote cited in Detert’s book. A Nigerian journalist remarks that there is freedom of speech in his country. The question, however, is whether there is freedom after one makes a candid remark about the country’s leadership. Those in business can relate. The estimate is that merely 20% of people at companies feel as if they can speak honestly about the problems they encounter. Whether democracy will ever flower in the corporate ranks is doubtful. Nevertheless, Detert in this episode takes on practical solutions to better one’s odds of both offering honest, constructive feedback and surviving long enough to help make the recommended change happen. One tool is to create a Courage Ladder, identifying the successively more difficult rungs one wants to climb. Another is practicing how to employ advocacy and inquiry to reframe a current situation such that the other party will recognize why improvements are in order.

Jim Detert is the John L. Colley Professor of Business Administration at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He’s won multiple awards for his teaching and curriculum development at both UVA and Cornell University.

Dan Hill, PhD, is the author of eight books and leads Sensory Logic, Inc. (https://www.sensorylogic.com). To check out his related “Dan Hill’s EQ Spotlight” blog, visit https://emotionswizard.com.

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