From conflict to transformational results

If you want to understand how to transform conflict into smarter results and stronger relationships, watch Alan Honick’s short film Seeing the Forest. It’s a story about transformation—from singled-minded management to inclusive leadership; from positional conflict to values-based collaboration; from focusing on discrete objects (trees) to seeing integrated systems (the forest ecosystem: trees, salmon, and let’s not forget the…

Move beyond staying positive

I recently spoke with a man struggling to stay positive within his workplace. Several months earlier he had committed to changing his attitude. He had spent too many years complaining with coworkers and leaving the office at the end of the day emotionally exhausted. He didn’t want to be part of the toxicity that permeates his work group anymore.…

Untangling strong emotions

When I work with groups in conflict, my goal is to help them talk candidly about the issues that matter most to them. Yet breakthroughs in understanding occur after people untangle their emotions. Emotions are the key to unlocking what we believe  and what we can accomplish together. Yet often we think of strong emotional experiences…

The value of conflict

Have you ever found yourself thinking “If they would just listen to me, we could finally make some progress!” You begin to judge others as difficult, maybe even incompetent. You feel self-righteous, misunderstood, unappreciated, frustrated, or worse, ignored. Your motive shifts from wanting to solve the problem, to wanting to prove you are right, and…

What does confidence look like?

I love this quote about confidence as investment by Rosabeth Moss Kanter in Confidence: How Winning Streaks and Losing Streaks Begin and End: Confidence influences the willingness to invest—to commit money, time, reputation, emotional energy, or other resources—or to withhold or hedge investment. This investment, or its absence, shapes the ability to perform. In that sense,…

What, me defensive?

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to shift from feeling collaborative, and in an instant, combative? One moment I see my workmate as a partner, the next she is my enemy. I shift from wanting to solve problems with her, to wanting to argue and win. Solution-seeking gives way to blame. Up-beat feelings of confidence, appreciation, and…

Are you learning in conflict?

In conflict situations, the way we say what we say often leads to more problems. In the book Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most, the authors Stone, Patton and Heen present two stances, or ways interacting with the others: Telling and Learning. In moments of stress, most of us reactively shift into a…