Ki Moments Blog

Support for life’s “key” moments.

Showing posts in the category “Communication”

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  • January 15, 2019

    Turn Enemies Into Allies: A Preview of my New Book

    Turn Enemies Into Allies: A Preview of my New Book

    How do I manage conflict between employees? ​ What should I do when coworkers don't get along? Should I intervene? Bring them together? Work individually? What do I say?

    In 2014, Ki Moments began a series of posts titled "The Manager as Mediator", designed to help managers and leaders deal with conflict between coworkers. When two valued employees can't get along, their team and the workplace suffer, and the posts offered tools to help resolve the conflict.

    That series of posts developed and became a book, which you probably know because you're a reader of Ki Moments. Turn Enemies Into Allies: The Art of Peace in the Workplace became available for pre-sale last month on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound, and will be released in paperback May 1.

    In the next four posts, I plan to "early release" bits and pieces of Turn Enemies Into Allies, so you can preview the concepts, tools, and practices and decide if they might be useful in your workplace--although the conflict and communication skills I bring to organizations and relate in the book are just as applicable at the kitchen table, in the locker room, and on visits with the in-laws.

  • December 18, 2018

    From Grouchy to Grateful: Digraphs, Blends, and The Art of Peace

    From Grouchy to Grateful: Digraphs, Blends, and The Art of Peace

    I had a couple of grouchy days this week. In all the places I practice centering--the car, the indoor pool, on the phone, at the grocery store--I responded to the unexpected with gritted teach and halted breath. Instead of catching myself each time, I let my uncentered self enjoy the ride to self-righteousness and judgment. It was mostly internal. I wasn't mean to anyone--didn't say or do anything I regretted later. But it wasn't fun. It sapped my energy, and lowered my happiness quotient.

    An on-and-off kind of thing, the mood lasted about two days. I finally found my way out of it through curiosity and fascination. What’s going on? Is it something I ate? Drank? Not enough sleep? 

  • December 4, 2018

    Turn Enemies Into Allies: The Art of Peace in the Workplace

    Turn Enemies Into Allies: The Art of Peace in the Workplace

    I began writing my new book, Turn Enemies Into Allies, four years ago here on my Ki Moments blog, with six posts on "The Manager as Mediator: 5 Tips for Managing Conflict Between Co-Workers". At the time, I was engaged in an intervention between two coworkers at a large insurance company, both of whom were highly regarded by the organization. The problem was that they were also mired in a conflict that was causing stress--to them, their team, and the organization. 

    After several months of individual and joint sessions, the dynamic between the two had so changed that they reported on the process to their team, and in an article for the company newsletter, describing the benefits of engaging conflict with positive intent, support and clarity of purpose.

    And so I began to write down the process....

  • November 6, 2018

    Civil and Respectful: How to Argue Civilly

    Civil and Respectful: How to Argue Civilly

    I'm a subscriber to the VitalSmarts Crucial Skills newsletter. VitalSmarts is a training company and a team of authors responsible for excellent books and trainings, like Crucial Conversations, Crucial Accountability. and The Influencer. You can find them all on Amazon and on their website, along with downloadable free resources.

    In a recent newsletter, Joseph Grenny's post on "How to Argue Civilly" is a brief summary of best practices for the kinds of emotional conversations we might have with loved ones, especially around the holidays. I got curious about who else is writing on this topic, and did a little research on "how to argue civilly." A quick Google search returned pages of possibilities. I list three here that I found particularly useful.

    In this time of unrest and polarization, I'm doing what I can to engage my own difficult conversations with respect, curiosity and compassion. If someone thinks or feels differently about a candidate, a policy, or a party, what harm can come from learning how they arrived at their opinions? Most of the time, I find differences fascinating, not frustrating. 

    That said, I've written a lot recently on how to communicate successfully, so I'll stop here and let you read what others are saying.

  • October 9, 2018

    A Failure to Communicate: Part 3--Consider Your Purpose

    A Failure to Communicate: Part 3--Consider Your Purpose

    I titled this post before I started writing it, with the intention of talking about the one piece of a difficult conversation that steers the ship--my purpose for holding it. Then, it occurred to me that the purpose of any conversation is intimately connected to the purpose for my life, my work, my reason for being. For example:

    • Why do I hold certain conversations and not others?
    • What makes this one worthy of my energy and time?
    • How would things unfold if I didn't bring up the issue?
    • What are the consequences of this decision, pro and con?

    A lot goes into the decision for me and, I hope, for you. Because whether and how I express myself, listen, acknowledge you (if I do), and look for mutual ground (or not), says a lot about who I am...

  • September 25, 2018

    A Failure to Communicate: Part 2--Find Your M-C

    A Failure to Communicate: Part 2--Find Your M-C

    Did you happen to read my post earlier this month? When There's a Failure to Communicate: Choose Love can be summed up in this paragraph from the post:

    Let's turn the tide. Change the momentum away from the contest and toward connection and problem-solving; toward learning and seeking to understand what fears and hopes underlie the views of those who think and believe differently from--and may even oppose--us.

    I appreciate the comments I received thanking me for speaking out about choosing love over fear. One reader said, "We haven't heard this voice enough--the voice that speaks for respectful communication. You're not just saying it's a good idea, you're standing up for decent process and respect."

    Decent process and respectful communication can be cultivated and practiced, like any muscle we want to strengthen....

  • September 11, 2018

    When There's a Failure to Communicate: Choose Love

    When There's a Failure to Communicate: Choose Love

    We appear to be taking sides on everything.

    • Immigration
    • Gun control
    • The economy
    • Our schools
    • Workplace and family issues 

    Even Nike commercials. 

    We've stopped talking with each other. And we must find a way to reverse this trend--somehow....

  • August 14, 2018

    Internal Aikido: Being and Doing

    Internal Aikido: Being and Doing

    The new owner and chief instructor at Portsmouth Aikido, Aaron Cass, gave a seminar at the dojo recently on "Internal Aikido." It was enlightening, and fun. You may say this is what I do, and to some extent you'd be correct. I help individuals and organizations use the aikido metaphor to think and act more purposefully in stressful situations, like conflict. I teach them how to incorporate aikido principles, such as blending and redirecting energy by using words to listen, acknowledge, and express a point of view.

    However, Aaron was teaching something else--specifically  how to carry ourselves physically so that our posture is aligned in a way that allows for efficient and effortless body dynamics.

  • July 31, 2018

    Appreciative Inquiry and Positive Framing

    Appreciative Inquiry and Positive Framing

    I was interviewed last month by Tom Rosenak of Diamond Mind in Evanston, Illinois. Tom helps people engage in transformative conversations in order to strengthen relationships and drive results. You can hear or download our interview, Conflict Transformation and Aikido on the Diamond Mind site.

    Tom's podcasts arrive every couple of weeks, and I highly recommend his interview with Jackie Stavros and Cheri Torres on their new book, Conversations Worth Having: Using Appreciative Inquiry to Fuel Productive and Meaningful Engagement.

    Jackie and Cheri are internationally known for their work in Appreciative Inquiry (AI), a problem-solving tool introduced in 1987 by David Cooperrider, known for his contributions in the fields of leadership, change management, and organization development. Interestingly, AI solves problems by focusing on the question "What do you want?" and not on the problem, maximizing the power of noticing what is already working rather than on what is broken.

  • July 17, 2018

    Questions in Service of the Asked

    Questions in Service of the Asked

    I first heard the phrase--"questions in service of the asked"--as a participant in a workshop with Essential Partners, originally the Public Conversations Project, in Boston. It took me some time--and a lot of practice--to figure out what it meant and how to do it.

    I've written previously about the power of inquiry, curiosity and discovery, of asking useful questions, and of acknowledging what you hear to make sure the "asked" knows you're listening. After almost 25 years of teaching, coaching, and my own experience in conflict situations (yes, I have them, too), I can still get stuck on what questions to ask. What would help unravel this conflict knot? How can I better see where this person is coming from? What needs to happen here to find resolution?

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