We belong to each other. – Mother Teresa
Good problem-solving process
The way we structure and orchestrate a problem-solving conversation influences not only how the conversation unfolds, but also the solutions that become visible and the quality of participation.
Get ahead of acute or chronic conflict.
Have better disagreements in your personal and professional relationships.
3 questions for choosing the right tool at the right time.
Use the psychology of agreement to start your conversation right.
It’s all about frame of reference.
The best kind of experiment.
Fallback criteria save the day. Again.
Another cognitive trap just waiting to spring on you.
That damn gravity.
Stop trying to wrangle people into things. It’s way too much work.
Sit up straight. You’re missing something.
No DeLorean needed.
It’s not news that understanding the other person’s key interests is a crucial skill for your negotiation skills toolbox. I knew that when I went into the contract negotiation in the following story…and I almost blew it anyway. It took a question born out of desperation to teach me that some interests can be elusive, […]
Learn from my pathetic post-grad school salary negotiation.
What is that bump under the rug?
Not all disagreements require long talks to resolve them sufficiently. Sometimes you can use a pre-agreed principle to get them done and get on with your day. Here are two worth considering for your workplace team or family.
New research is challenging the notion that thinking, problem solving, and decision making take place strictly in the head. And finally giving me some credibility after years of placing interactive toys in the middle of my mediation table. How do you put 17 animals in four pens in such a way that there is an […]
When friction enters a working relationship, sometimes the best path through isn’t to dissect it and talk about it. Sometimes the best path through is an indirect one — ask for a favor from them. Just like Ben Franklin suggested.
Starting a difficult conversation (or negotiation or mediation) can feel like opening Fibber McGee’s closet — chaotic, overwhelming, and hope-sucking. But don’t run. A colleague shared the closet metaphor with me years ago and I’ve passed it along to countless others since. The messy, over-filled hall closet was a running gag on the 1930s-1950s radio […]
“Get me outta here!” That’s the thought a lot of people have during workplace conflict. It’s the thought you have if you’re uncomfortable with conflict: I don’t like this. It’s messy. Maybe even painful. Get me outta here! It’s the thought you have if you’re too comfortable with conflict: This is going nowhere good. I’m […]
Design thinking is helping designers, engineers, and entrepreneurs solve problems more successfully and develop better products. Here’s how conflict resolvers can use one of design thinking’s most powerful steps to achieve better outcomes.
If you’re trying to solve a tough problem, is it better to push on through or take a brain break? Is it better to be out in nature or will the sidewalk do? Is it better to build on an offered idea or disagree and criticize it? Yes.
The 9-dot puzzle has been around for a while now, so maybe you’ve seen it. It’s a permanent resident of my conflict resolution activities toolbox. Here’s what it is and how I use it in conflict resolution to help clients problem-solve more creatively (as well as a Part 2 of the exercise that may be […]
One of the hardest tasks I face as a mediator and coach is helping people make big, difficult choices for themselves. Here’s how I use a refreshing and liberating new framework to help my clients decide between options when there is no clear frontrunner.
If you want to boost creative problem solving or get a fresh perspective, then get up from your conference room table and climb out of those comfy living room chairs. Walking is better.
It can feel very gratifying to sort out a sticky problems for other people. But the fixer habit can backfire, leaving you burned out and them not used to handling problems themselves. Years ago, a student came to my office with a problem. I was a dean at the time and I had many appointments […]
Uncommon but also learnable.
A lesson from theatrical improv can teach us a powerful way to respond effectively to blame. “I’m getting blamed for everything,” she said. “Every time I talk to my husband about our problems, he blames me.” She wanted to know, understandably, how to stop the cycle and the blameshifting. Mediators ask me how to manage […]
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? Here’s how to decide.