Problem Solving

When is the last time you thought everything was perfect? Never, right? Inevitably, things don’t always go your way. Or, there are always obstacles to be overcome. Or, people just don’t see things as you do, and, of course, they’re wrong. Why don’t they just see things the right way?

It has taken me a lifetime to learn how to see things from all angles. Most of those different perspectives are simply reflections of people’s differing agendas, especially when people don’t even believe that they have agendas, or, in reality, needs.

Enter “conflict.” What happens when you have a run-in at work, or a dispute with a customer, or an apparent breach of a business contract? First comes a sense of unfairness, and often anger. If you act rashly, often in the moment, things can go from bad to worse. Here are a few steps toward solving that problem fast.

First – Step back. Do not react immediately. Pause. Think about what response your preferred reaction will elicit. Take a moment to consider the consequence of a negative reaction.

Second – De-escalate the situation. Generally, you can be assured that a hostile reaction will make the situation worse. Consider removing yourself physically from the area and say something like “I need a few minutes. Can you wait, or can I get back to you in a few minutes?

Third – Calm yourself. Do whatever it takes to restore calm. You are much more capable of solving your problem when you are calm enough to think clearly about solutions.

Fourth – Brainstorm solutions. Talk it out. Put it in writing. Reach out to others, and maybe even your opponent, for ideas to resolve the problem

Fifth – Call in a neutral person like a mediator. If the situation is sufficiently serious, such as a conflict that will undermine an important relationship, consider bringing in a neutral third party to help the parties find a solution. The involvement of a mediator can bring surprising results that are beneficial, and fair, to all parties.

You would be amazed at the results of a mediation at the outset of a conflict. Consider early “intervention” and give me a call or send me an e-mail. I can help at all stages of conflict to solve the tough problems.