Fruitful Discussions

I liked this guidance from Dr. Britt Andreata on addressing conflict through managing difficult conversations

Here’s how the typical bad scenario unfolds:

1. Problems begin with another person (e.g. annoying or unwanted behaviors).  

2. People start building their cases – listing the wrongs done to them, collecting corroborating evidence, and seeking validation from others.

3. There is a tipping point in terms of frequency or intensity of the problems that lead to a confrontation where accusations are made and blame is attributed. 

4. Then the aftermath in terms of a animosity, loss of trust, and a damaged relationship.

Here’s a better way to deal:

1. Problems begin with another person.  

2. People spend some time reflecting on why the behavior is affecting you, getting clear on what you want to correct it, and trying to see from the other person’s perspective. 

3. The tipping point is sooner in terms of the frequency and intensity of the problems–so you nip it in the bud earlier–and you have a conversation with the other person where you have reframed the other person from an adversary to a partner (e.g. you’ve questioned the facts, assumptions, conclusions along with your emotions, beliefs, and actions–and you’ve looked at alternative narratives to these) and you take responsibility for your part, share your experience and goals to improve things, invite their perceptions, and “co-create solutions.”

4. Follow through with the other person to work together, implement the changes, and hold each other accountable to address the issues. 

The amazing thing about this approach to conflict management is that assuming the other person isn’t truly bad, evil, or gunning for you is that we can look at things from constructive perspective where we own our part, and they own theirs, and together we work together to make things better for everyone. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


When People Fear You, You’re Not A Leader

As the fortune cookie I came across yesterday says:

“Leadership is action, not position.”

And actions demonstrate a good or evil heart.

When everyone hates a leader is that a “leader?”

– Fear is not leadership.

– Bullying is not leadership. 

– Corruption is not leadership. 

Leadership is:

– Showing others what is right and being a good influence. 

– Rolling up your sleeves and doing the hard work alongside everyone else. 

– Helping others to achieve their potential. 

– When others see you as a leader based on your integrity of purpose and actions. 

How we treat others is as true a test of leadership as of where we want to go and how we want to get there. 

G-d sees everything man (leader or not) does, and only He in Heaven is the Leader of Leaders and the King of Kings.  😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Culture Key To Organizational Success

As I continue to learn more about organizational success strategies, I am coming to understand that the underlying culture of the organization is so very fundamental to its success.

I believe this is especially the case in terms of three critical competency areas:

– Communication – needs to be timely, constructive, multi-directional, and with emotional intelligence.

– Trust – must be be based on honesty and integrity including consistently supporting the success of everyone professionally and as a organization. 

– Collaboration – must be be anchored in respecting, valuing, empowering, and rewarding each and every person for their views and the contributions, both individually and as team members, and in treating diversity and collaboration, as a true force-multiplier. 

If any of these elements are missing or broken then it does not seem to me that the organization will be able to be successful for the long term.

Organizational success is built on ingredients that strengthen the ties of leadership and individuals and that foster contribution as individuals and as team members. 

No amount of smart, innovative, and even hard work, in my mind, will make up for shortfalls in these critical organizational success factors. 

So when planning for organizational success, make sure to build these in from the get-go. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The View From Upfront and Behind

Thought this was a smart saying from a colleague:

“If you ain’t the lead dog, the view doesn’t change.”

What the dogs upfront and those behind them see are quite a different view. 

It’s important for the lead dogs to guide the other dogs in a good direction and stay clear from obstacles. 

We may not all see the same thing, but whatever our viewpoints are, we all have to work together and pull our hardest towards progress. 

It’s a race to the finish–and finish strong and together we all must. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Natalia Kollegova)

The Folly of Bullies

So there is an issue with people not treating other people with respect and dignity in life and at work.

Today again, the Wall Street Journal reported that “Companies Wake Up To The Problem of Bullies at Work.”

This is leading some organizations to issue “Codes of Civility” for people to act like mensches and treat each other nicely. 

Adults are just so like children–with work bullies not all that different from schoolyard bullies.

Why do people need to elevate themselves on the backs of others? 

Isn’t it better to join hands and work together as brothers for the betterment of all.

Bullying anyone at work or at home doesn’t benefit anyone, including the bully!

I read today in Psalms 37: 35-36:

“I have seen the wicked in great power and spreading himself like a green tree. Yet he passed away, and behold, he was not; I sought him, but he could not be found

[But] Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright for the end of that man is peace.”

How can people forget that the true “big boss” is G-d Almighty in Heaven.

And He judges us for a good or not so good end. 

We are all just flesh and blood and we all answer to the One That Was, Is, and Will Always Be!

Isn’t it obvious that we’re here to learn to act with lovingkindness to one another.

All are imperfect, but treating each other well is how we get closer to G-dly perfection. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Mechanisms for Coping With Stress

Just reflecting on the day off today on helpful ways for being resilient and coping with day-to-day stress. 

1. Teamwork – Remember you’re not alone and you can rely on your colleagues/teammates at work and your family/friends at home to work with you, help you, and also be a support. Together, when you distribute the weight, the load is lighter and more manageable for everyone doing the lifting! 

2. Work-Life Balance – Listen, all work and no play is good for no one. When you create a healthy balance in your own life–professional, emotional, intellectual, social, physical, and spiritual–then you will be more balanced, holistic, and better able to manage the ups and downs in any one or more areas of your life. The whole of you is larger than the sum of the parts!

3. Perspective – You’ve got to maintain a healthy perspective and attitude in life. All is not doom and gloom. Not every setback is catastrophic. There is good and bad in everything. And we need to use the challenges in life as learning and growth opportunities. Also, remember that there are many others in even worse shoes than us and their fortitude and seeing it through can be an inspiration to us. At the end of the day, look at the bright side–we all have so much to be grateful for, and every moment of life is a blessing!

4. Sense of Humor – When all else fails, a sense of humor can sometimes be the savings grace of the moment. When you’re looking out over the abyss and you are seeing things dark and maybe quite ugly…perhaps, you can find in yourself, in others, or from a moment in time, something ridiculous or absurdly funny to think back on and laugh to yourself a good, strong, and healthy laugh!

5. Faith – No matter what…G-d is always there for you. Always watching. Always guiding. Always caring and loving you. You can have faith that whatever He does for you is ultimately for your best. The G-d of your forefathers/mothers, the G-d who created you, the G-d who sustains you every moment of every day will not abandon you in your time of need. If you have faith, He will protect and save you and after your amazing life’s journey eventually comes to an end, He will bring you home to reunite with Him!

On my Bar-Mitzvah, now many years ago, my father gave a speech and he said to me from the prayers, be strong and remember:

“The L-rd is with me, I will not fear!” (or in Hebrew “Adonai li v’lo ira”)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The CEO and The Janitor


Wow, I heard a powerful story from a colleague that I wanted to share.

The colleague’s father was a industrial psychologist and he would go into some relatively big organizations to improve the functioning and culture. 

One of the things that he would do is get the CEO and the janitor in the same room together. 

And he would say:

“Both of you have vital jobs in the organization and you need to appreciate each other!”

At this point, the CEO and the janitor would be looking around the room super quizzically.

And the psychologist would to the janitor and say:

“The CEO’s job is critical, because without the CEO, we wouldn’t have the leadership and vision for the organization to be successful, and you wouldn’t have a job and salary.


Then he’d turn to the CEO and  explain:

The Janitor’s job is critical, because without the janitor, we wouldn’t have a clean and functioning building and facilities for everyone to do their jobs and be successful, and you wouldn’t be able to come to work ever day.”


It’s really amazing that despite all the fancy titles, corners offices, and rich compensation packages for some, really everyone in the organization is vital in their own way!


We need to remember that when we deal with others that they are human beings–in the image of G-d–and we need to treat all with the utmost dignity and respect for both who they are and what they contribute. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)