Soundview Executive Book Summaries

In Health Care, Silence Kills

If you attended Soundview’s recent “Influencing for Change” Webinar with VitalSmarts author Al Switzler, you may have heard him refer to a Web site called It certainly piqued my curiosity, so I went to the site to give it a closer look. The site was created by VitalSmarts and is devoted to the need for critical communication in the health care field. It had some surprising statistics. Here are a few that caught my eye:

  • 84 percent of doctors have seen coworkers taking shortcuts that could be dangerous to patients.
  • 88 percent of doctors work with people who show poor clinical judgement.
  • Fewer than 10 percent of physicians, nurses and other clinical staff directly confront their colleagues about their concerns.

Frightening, isn’t it? For those that may dismiss these findings as part of a random sample, consider the notes on the study provided on the Web site:

“Researchers conducted dozens of focus groups, interviews, and workplace observations, and then collected survey data from more than 1,700 nurses, physicians, clinical-care staff, and administrators during 2004. Research sites included 13 urban, suburban, and rural hospitals from across the U.S. Although, this is a relatively small sample and includes only 100 physicians, the findings paint a significant and compelling picture.” (

While the medical profession is one where critical decisions can sometimes mean the difference between life and death, it should make us all consider our own industries. What potential business deal is doomed to failure because someone neglected to have a crucial conversation with someone else?

If you missed the video Webinar with Al Switzler, you can still watch the archived video. Visit this link to see how you can still catch all of the insight. Don’t forget, there are also copies of the summaries of Crucial Conversations, Crucial Confrontations and Influencer by the VitalSmarts authors available!


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