Fighting in the space between us

World-renowned negotiator, Daniel Shapiro, writes in his book Negotiating the Nonnegotiable that our most constructive conflicts lead to real solutions when they don’t take place inside of us or our opponents but rather in the space between us.

Stringing out the emotions that churn inside of us until they make a tidy or not so tidy pile on the table before us, and inviting the other person to do the same, may seem like a bold and brave conflict resolution strategy. It is messy, though. Out of fear of this emotional can of worms, we reach for other strategies that seem more rational but are in fact emotionally motivated and often highly charged. We do some or all of the following:

  1. Refine our argument against the opposing opinion.
  2. Gather evidence to prove the other person wrong or to prove ourselves right.
  3. Anticipate push-back and become defensive even before a word has been said.
  4. Contemplate and even exaggerate the outcome if we should...
Continue Reading...

What happened to optimism?

What happened to optimism?

By Hettie Brittz

The EI Activator identifies 40 essential skills for high social, emotional, and environmental intelligence. It is a unique tool in that it seeks to not discriminate against personality types that in their DNA simply do not possess a natural rose-tinted outlook on life. We think that the creators of most other EI models possess these lenses and have a strong preference for individuals who see the glass, not just half-full but almost overflowing! You have to love optimists!

But we love everybody. Even the ones who constantly see the bottom of the glass as barely wet…You may call these individuals the pessimists, while they will call themselves the realists, of course. That's nothing new, but these labels are not helpful, are they? Optimists are viewed by this group to be unrealistic, in denial, easily charmed, childish, impulsive, irresponsible, and sometimes even shallow. On the darker side of the universe, the “realists”...

Continue Reading...

Aren't emotions just inconvenient?

Aren't emotions just inconvenient?

By Hettie Brittz

I admit to feeling that way often, especially in a work environment. I can get pretty emotional, socially, with family, with things I'm passionate about, like mountain climbing (I've cried over a pretty flower in the Swiss Alps) or at births and deaths. So, don't get me wrong – I'm not the stoic type. However, I'm willing to admit that when a colleague brings emotional matters to a formal meeting, something rises up within me. I've caught myself thinking many of these thoughts:

  • Can we just get back to work? That's what we're here for.
  • Emotions slow down decisions and distort them.
  • Emotions diminish people's capacity to think rationally.
  • Emotions are used to manipulate others.
  • There is a time and place for emotions and it's not now in the boardroom. Emotions belong in the tearoom, in your own time.

This thinking does not purely come from having experienced regret after emotional decisions or hearing other executives complain...

Continue Reading...

Chopped: When a career is cut short

Did the COVID axe reach your neck of the woods, or do you fear that it may? The dreaded words of our times are euphemisms like "furloughed" and "temporarily shortened hours".

Thousands of highly qualified, driven individuals find themselves on a chopping block previously reserved for stragglers, under-achievers and the "last in". What if it is you this week? How do you start over?

A friend of mine, his younger brother and another high school buddy of theirs experienced a very literal amputation of not just dreams but limbs when their yacht touched high-voltage cables and sent scorching bolts of electricity through their young bodies. Tragic, senseless, unfair, devastating? My friend would not call it that, though. His Facebook feed shows him and his three sons swimming open water races together, him with Paralympic medals around his neck, still running and swimming competitively at 50!

What did he do between his hospital bed and that medal rostrum?

He shifted focus from the stump...

Continue Reading...

50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.