107. Constructive Communication, Part A
Conflict is not the problem. Poor resolution is the problem.
First, A Poll
The answer to last week’s poll is at the bottom of this rant.
Meanwhile, for this week…
Do you believe your business will grow over the next 12 months?
That’s the one word that can best describe my first marriage.
Tara and I met each other while we were both on a fun vacation. She lived in Toronto, I lived in Los Angeles, we met far from our respective homes, in the paradise of the British Virgin Islands.
After a fun week, we decided we would see if we could make it work, despite a gap of 3000 miles and a border protection group that is suspicious of people who travel frequently for fun.
We spent months and months of long weekends, meeting each other in one or another location. Either I’d fly to her for a fun weekend in Canada, she’d fly to me for a fun weekend in California or, more often than not, Tara and I would meet each other somewhere in the middle for a long fun weekend in an exciting new location.
It was… fun. Every time we got together was like another vacation. Who doesn’t love vacation, right?
Tara ended up moving to Los Angeles and, very shortly thereafter, partly due to said border protection group becoming increasingly wary of the continuous travel, we got married.
The daily grind of living together, however, is very different than being on vacation. The mood is different, the expectations are different and the conversations are different. It’s usually not filled with as much fun.
Vacations tend to be easy going with little stress. Everybody’s relaxed and, for those that travel well together, there’s little conflict. Teamwork and togetherness is easy when the only agenda is to have fun. Conversations are simple when every moment is a new adventure.
Daily living, on the other hand, brings stress into the picture. Where there is stress, there is conflict.
It didn’t take long for Tara and I to realize that we were horrendous at conflict resolution. One of us would fight while the other would retreat. It wasn’t healthy. Nobody won.
Eventually, we both became wounded enough to walk through the exit door; we got divorced just four short years into the marriage. She moved back to Canada and our roads quickly diverged.
As the journalist Mignon McLaughlin said, “if the second marriage really succeeds, the first one didn’t really fail.”
I learned a lot about myself through my marriage to Tara. I learned things that made me a better partner, a better father, a better leader and a better friend.
Most importantly, I learned the importance of conflict resolution and constructive communication.
Why Tara Matters
Whether you’re at work, home or the local laundromat, conflict resolution through constructive communication is the key to happy, productive inter-personal relationships.
Seems obvious, right? I agree. But surprisingly, constructive communication is not a given in this world. That leads to lots of unresolved conflict. And conflict is a serious thing - especially when it doesn’t get resolved. As a for instance, this is the reason for every war in human history.
According to a report by CPP, Inc, 85% of all employees experience conflict at work. Even more, a whopping 89% said they’ve experienced conflicts that have escalated.
In other words, we all experience conflict. It’s part of everyday life.
US employees spend about 2.8 hours per work week on conflict. Doesn’t sound like a lot, I know. But that equates to 2 1/2 weeks per year spent not working. You probably spend more time per year dealing with conflict than you spend on vacation time. That’s messed up.
What’s even more messed up is that, from a cost perspective, we’re talking over $360 billion in hours paid where people are arguing rather than being productive.
What the heck is going on here people!?!?!? 360 BILLION dollars per year is being wasted!!!
What’s even worse, most employees (60%) never receive any basic conflict management training. But for those that did get training, almost all of them (95%) said that the training helped them navigate conflict positively.
Conflict is a problem for almost everybody. We know that training is proven to help people navigate these conflicts. Yet companies are not training their employees in the techniques for conflict resolution.
This, my friends, is a real life example of leadership tomfoolery. Or, as I like to call it…. Actually, I don’t have another name for it.
You know what, I’m going to hit the proverbial pause button here. Think a little bit about how you handle conflict resolution, cause we’re going to talk more about it next week.
And maybe I’ll fill you in on a fun conflict or two from my times with Tara. That would be a good book title. Times with Tara. Hmmm… I’ll get right on that.
“Life is going to get hard sometimes, so get the f*** up and get your sh** together. You are either an ocean or a puddle, don’t be a puddle. People walk through puddles like they are nothing. Oceans f***ing destroy cities."
Love Cures All. In some experiments, positive loving relationships actually transform cancer cells in rodents. Maybe John and Paul were right, love is all you need (check it out)
Tying It Wrong. Of all the TED Talk videos in all the world, the one that changed my life the most is this 3-minute piece on shoe laces (a must see)
It’s Watching You. OK, this is just plain creepy. (whaaat?)
Cooler Colors. For you marketing/designer types, this is my absolute favorite site to develop a color palette (color away)
Last Week’s Poll Results
What platform do you use to listen to podcasts?