Managing Conflict in Customer Service: Have a P.E.P. talk

Managing Conflict in Customer Service: Have a P.E.P. talk

In 2008, I started a small business renting living Christmas trees in pots as an alternative to cut or artificial trees. In 2012, we pitched the company on ABC’s Shark Tank, and were joined by billionaire investor Mark Cuban. Our business grew exponentially - bringing along with it the opportunity for conflict. 

One of our challenges was in customer service.

The good and bad news was just how passionate folks were about their time-treasured holiday symbol of hope and joy. Before an acceptable tree was safely in their home, customers tended to get a little animated....

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Difficult Conversations: What Every Leader Needs to Know

Difficult Conversations: What Every Leader Needs to Know

How to shift the "difficult" conversations that arise in your workplace, to become "meaningful" and effective conversations. The result? A strong team that can exchange ideas effectively, disagree healthily, innovative creatively, be productive, and get stuff done!

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Dealing with Difficult Behavior

Dealing with Difficult Behavior

Conflict is inevitable in the workplace. However, that does not mean that we cannot work to prevent unproductive behavior that leads to conflict. Difficult behavior is a good example of an area where a difference can be made. Although it is easy to label people as difficult, the real focus should always be on the actual behavior. Dealing effectively with difficult behavior is a skill that can nip conflict in the bud.

Difficult behavior is essentially that which inhibits the performance of others. Left alone it will get worse, affect more people and continue to incur hidden costs for the organization in which it occurs. Most difficult behavior is accidental, but it can also be the result of intentional thought. Sometimes it is sporadic and takes us by surprise. At other times it is ongoing and forms patterns.

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From Reaction to Response: Conflict As A Choice

From Reaction to Response: Conflict As A Choice

Once we embrace that conflict is inevitable in social relationships, the question we have to ask is “how do we respond?” Responsibly, we’d hope. Yet, for the most part, when we are in conflict, we are not very responsive, and tend to be reactive. Shifting to a responsive approach to conflict is easier said than done. When we are in conflict situations, we are typically being triggered and reverting to our unconscious conflict handling scripts.

What’s the difference between a responsive and a reactive approach? When we respond to the challenges of life-including our conflict situations-we take responsibility for our role in the situation, we are in tune with what we are feeling and why, and our thoughts, words and behaviors are conscious of the bigger picture. By contrast, when we react, we shift responsibility for the situation to the other through blame; we assume the victim role and are ‘justifiably’ carried away by powerful feelings like anger, fear and grief. We use an unconscious template for reaction that seeks acknowledgement, justice, restoration, and even revenge.

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Making an Impact with Feedback

Making an Impact with Feedback

Ever watch one of the talent, dance or voice reality shows? As a guilty pleasure, I’ve seen them all at one point and after every performance a panel of celebrity judges gives the performer feedback. Each judge has their own style and some have become infamous (think Simon Cowell and his no-mince opinions and harsh tones). From my perspective, some judges are better than others at structuring and expressing their feedback. The objective should be for the performer to understand what they did well or not so well, what they could do better, and take the advice given. Likewise, there are key guidelines for the person giving feedback to do so effectively.

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Conflict Spirals Within Business Teams

Conflict Spirals Within Business Teams

Knowing when you or your team is in a conflict spiral, and how to exit from it, is critical in supporting high performance and consistent growth. The healthy environment in business teams where strong relationships and bold ideas mix and bang together is called the Creative Tension Zone. Teams fall out of the Creative Tension Zone for a variety of reasons.

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