Crucial Skills®

A Blog by Crucial Learning


VitalSmarts is Now Crucial Learning

This year marks my seventeenth working for an amazing company that, up until two days ago, was known as VitalSmarts. Like all careers, mine has had its share of ups and downs—from incredibly challenging moments to those when I felt like I had the best job in the world. Through it all, one thing has become apparent to me: I love working for this organization. I love my colleagues, what the organization stands for, and the good we accomplish together.

This week is especially significant for everyone associated with our organization. This is the week we become Crucial Learning.

I’m not a company spokesperson. I typically don’t participate in interviews or star in our videos. I’m much more comfortable in the background. But this week I feel compelled to share the story of Crucial Learning’s origin. I understand this is not what we traditionally publish in our newsletter and blog. So, if you’re missing the usual Q&A, rest assured we’ll resume our regular programming soon.

For more than three decades we have operated as a corporate training firm that helps people and organizations achieve important goals using the skills taught in our courses and bestselling books. We are proud of our history as VitalSmarts. And we believe there’s much more yet to do.

We live in an increasingly complex and challenging world. Today, the simple, time-tested skills we teach are more important, relevant, and vital than ever. They offer solutions to some of the world’s toughest problems and a pathway to increased personal happiness and fulfillment for countless individuals.

For example, over the years I’ve watched people repair marriages, resolve longtime family feuds, reunite with estranged friends, and save their careers. I’ve heard countless stories of people who are now happier and more self-assured because they’ve learned to apply the skills we teach in our books and courses.

We refer to these skills as crucial skills because they have a disproportionate impact on the results we all care about most. From salvaged relationships and careers to feeling less stressed and more fulfilled to cultivating a deeper connection with those you love, the skills we teach help people become better versions of themselves.

Combine outcomes like that with fantastic people to work with day in and day out, and you can see why I was initially drawn to the organization and why I’m still here.

Historically, we have primarily taught crucial skills to employees via their employers. We have certified more than 15,000 facilitators at organizations around the globe who have gone on to teach our courses to millions worldwide. This model has sustained our business for many years, and we plan to continue offering courses this way.

We also have a vision for a greater contribution—to share our crucial skills more broadly and do more good in the world. As we reviewed our business model, we realized our courses were somewhat exclusive, accessible primarily only through an employer. What about individual learners? What about the self-employed and the entrepreneurs, students, artists, stay-at-home moms, and retirees? Can’t they also benefit from learning crucial skills and the results that follow?

So while our new name and brand are both fun and exciting, they also represent a fundamental shift in our direction as an organization—the start of something new and important.

In our evolution from VitalSmarts to Crucial Learning, we will move beyond training to inspire learning. We’ve moved beyond the walls of the corporate conference room to create experiences for anyone and everyone, learning experiences that are more accessible, flexible, and inclusive. What we really want to do with our time and resources is contribute to a world where every human being can be great at being human.

We thank our clients and partners for your past support of our vision and mission. We appreciate and admire your loyalty, and we offer the same in return—we’re here to support your goals. Our flagship courses you know and love, Crucial Conversations and its companion Crucial Accountability, have been given new names, a refreshed look, updated content, and are now offered in more flexible learning options. There’s simply more to love.

At Crucial Learning, we believe learning and growth do not end with a single course or even an advanced degree. Life itself is a continuous learning journey—one we all travel together. I invite you to join us on the next leg of our journey as Crucial Learning.

To learn more about our new brand and refreshed courses, visit

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2 thoughts on “VitalSmarts is Now Crucial Learning”

  1. Cathy Daughembaugh

    I have always loved your material and look forward to the new direction. During the beginning of the pandemic Joseph’s webinars served as an anchor and inspiration for me. I shared the link with so many people who thanked me the same kind of reasons. I remain a loyal customer, fan and facilitator or the Crucial Learning materials.
    Thank you!

  2. William F

    YOU, should have not been in the background all these years… 😉 nice article and all of you at Crucial Learning continue on your beautiful paths. You’ve helped many, including me and my affiliate organizations grow.
    Thanks for all the years!

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