Category: Conflict Management

Who – or What is right? Just a Random Thought


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Who – or What is right?

Just because you are right, does not mean that you need to exercise that point or view.

We are not fish who have to take a bait. What is more important- Winning the War or winning a battle?

We have choice, and I think that a lot of people have lost that ability to think about the decisions they make. As Postman & Weingartner said in Teaching as a Subversive Activity….we need to become crap detectors.

Even Anthony Robbins indicated that it is useful to sometimes check your own values and beliefs, to see if they are still relevant.

But anyway, I just thought I would share this story.

An old man and a young boy were travelling through their village with their donkey. The boy rode on the donkey and the old man walked.

As they went along they passed some people who remarked it was a shame the old man was walking and the boy was riding.

The man and boy thought maybe the critics were right, so they changed positions.

Later, they passed some people that remarked, “What a shame, he makes that little boy walk.”

They then decided they both would walk!

Soon they passed some more people who thought they were stupid to walk when they had a decent donkey to ride. So, they both rode the donkey.

Now they passed some people that shamed them by saying “how awful to put such a load on a poor donkey”.

The boy and man said they were probably right, so they decided to carry the donkey. As they crossed the bridge, they lost their grip on the animal and he fell into the river and drowned.

The moral of the story?

If you try to please everyone, you might as well kiss your ass good-bye!

A Communication “Bill of Rights”


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I recently had to facilitate an improved service level agreement between two parties in the IT field. The particular project was about to be shelved by the client due to severe scope creep.

I quickly assessed that one of the root causes of the scope creep was caused by the lack of defining interpersonal and organizational communication proccesses before the start of the project.

To help them solve this problem, I got them to draw up a communication ” bill of rights”. These guidelines will now form the basis for future dealings and relationships.

A Bill of Rights is defined as the formal summary of those rights and liberties considered essential to a people or group of people:example – a consumer bill of rights.

In this instance it was useful to develop such a communication bill of rights to govern the communication processes between the client and the supplier.

This is what the group decided upon:

  1. Agree on a glossary of terms. Always check for understanding.
  2. Communicate without an element of commercial interest at first.
  3. Any form of communication that impact in terms of time; scope or money must be formalised.
  4. Be specific. Relate this to standards specification.
  5. Listen! Listen! Listen!
  6. Always give feedback – Respond appropriately i.e. If you receive an e-mail with an idea, at least acknowledge receipt.
  7. Proper communication upfront at the start of a new project or phase with the whole team is essential.
  8. Establish channels of communication at the beginning of each new project.
  9. Communicate the Bill of rights – structure, purpose and method upfront.
  10. Separate personal issues from professional issues

You may find this technique useful the next time there is inter-departmental or client conflict. Facilitators often use it another form, such as establishing ground rules for a meeting.