The next chapter in my conflict resolution work

the next chapter in my conflict resolution work

People who know me well know that I start getting restless if too much stays the same for too long. My husband fears leaving on a trip alone, knowing that the house could be completely rearranged upon his return. My hair stylist never knows if I'm going to say cut it all off or let's grow it out really long again. Almost 17 years ago I walked away from a perfectly good and fulfilling job as a college VP and began the process of building a private practice doing conflict resolution work … [Read more...]

The essential ingredient (and often ignored) for effective conflict resolution

rumi quotation

You wander from room to room Hunting for the diamond necklace That is already around your neck. – Rumi The answer to your conflicts does not lie in yet another conflict resolution skills workshop to add to all that you've taken before (skills training may be worthwhile but there comes a point when more is not better). It does not lie in shinier, newer techniques than the ones you already have (no one wants to be techniqued anyway). There is no single magic bullet that, if you … [Read more...]

The venting myth revisited: An interview with Dr Brad Bushman

venting storm

Venting may make you feel great when you're angry, but it doesn't help you act great. Contrary to popular myth, venting has no real value to you at all. Say it with me now: Venting has no value and is a good habit to avoid. But don't take just my word for it. Let's hear what one of the top social psychology researchers in the world has to say about venting, anger, and aggression. In the following 30-minute audio, Dr. Brad Bushman graciously addresses questions I commonly field from clients … [Read more...]

Conflict resolution workshop at ACR Cincinnati

Over-the-Rhine neighborhood in Cincinnatir

Are you a conflict resolution professional planning to attend the Association for Conflict Resolution annual conference in October? If so, I hope we'll have a chance to catch up in person. Here's one place we can connect: I'll be teaching a conflict resolution workshop on how to address chronic conflict and tension in ongoing personal and business relationships. The workshop is scheduled for the morning of Friday, October 10 and continuing education credits are available. Coaching the … [Read more...]

Sh**ty first drafts of difficult conversations


What if we stopped expecting so much of ourselves (and others) when we're frustrated, and started accepting that the first draft is going to suck? What if we could let each other off the hook by agreeing that these kind of conversational first drafts will probably be filled with muddy thinking, poor language choice, and maybe even a dash of dramatic teeth-gnashing? What if we, in the famous words of writer Anne Lamott, allowed ourselves (and others) the latitude to have shitty first … [Read more...]

Starting conflict resolution: Big or small issues first?


Is it better to start with the biggest issues, then work out the ancillary or other smaller issues? Or will you be better off sorting out a bunch of smaller issues before taking on the big one? Yes. The upside of starting with the biggest issue in conflict resolution is that ancillary issues may no longer matter once the main issue is resolved, or they'll seem easier to sort out. The downside is that the big issue is often the most difficult and starting there could lead to early … [Read more...]

The leader’s guide to conflict pivots

ripples in the water

If you're a leader or manager, then part of your job is to help your people handle conflict optimally and resolve team conflict effectively. In some research I conducted a while back, leaders and managers said that they spent up to 40% of their time resolving conflict in workplace teams or helping specific team members with their conflict behaviors. Imagine what your job would be like--and how your organization would benefit--if you could put even half that amount of time toward other important … [Read more...]

The mediator’s guide to conflict pivots

sunlight through the trees

The Conflict Pivot isn't only for people who want to resolve their own conflicts. It's for mediators and other conflict resolution professionals like you and me, too--people who help people resolve their conflicts. I've been using the book's principles and approaches in my mediations and consulting for years now and it's changed the way I work. Here are the ways conflict pivots can help you in the mediation room and leave you with more satisfied mediation clients: Help clients bring their … [Read more...]

How conflict resolution is like oak trees, saplings, and acorns


When a conflict has been going on for a while, other ancillary conflicts tend to sprout around it. And sometimes those ancillary conflicts will linger even once the central conflict is resolved. It is the nature of conflict and here's what to do about it. Ed Catmull, President of Pixar and Disney Animation, puts it this way: "There is the problem you know you are trying to solve--think of that as an oak tree--and then there are all the other problems--think of these as saplings--that sprouted … [Read more...]

Congratulations to the prize drawing winners


A big congratulations to the four winners in my book launch prize drawing and a big thanks to all of you who bought my book and sent in your receipt to enter the drawing. I'm so grateful each and every one of you bought The Conflict Pivot. The Grand Prize went to Cecilia Lenagh. She won access to an upcoming 4-session group conflict coaching program + 1-hour private session with me. 1st prize went to Peter Clark. He won a 1-hour private telephone (or skype) coaching session with me. 2nd … [Read more...]

“Can” vs “how can” we resolve this?


What a difference a single word makes. When we're in conflict, our own egos and the level of hope (or hopelessness) we feel can become obstacles to finding resolution. Sometimes, a simple reframing of a key question can help us overcome these obstacles. I was reminded of this while listening to a public radio interview of Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer, who pointed out that "can" and "how can" are vastly different from one another. She said, "When you ask yourself how do you do … [Read more...]

The secret to dealing with haters online (and off)

peace of mind

The time-tested strategy for dealing with haters online is both right on the money and a battle of epic willpower proportions to carry off: PDFTT. Please Don't Feed the Trolls. Don't respond to them. Walk away from your keyboard. Put your phone in your pocket. Don't take the bait. The trouble with this advice is that your hands are already shaking with anger by the time you're trying to control the urge to put the troll in his place. You're already emotionally hijacked by what he wrote by the … [Read more...]

A quick favor, please?

I'm writing to request your help in spreading the word about my newest book, The Conflict Pivot. I've made it super easy to do and there's something for you in return: The chance to win one of five prizes in addition to the main prize drawing. Just take any (or all!) of the actions below and you'll be entered. The more actions you take, the more drawing entries you get. There's one action you can even take daily to accrue more entries and increase your chances of winning. Just click on an … [Read more...]