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Head Off Conflict Before It Escalates

If you're going to disagree, at least do it efficiently so you can get on with your day.

By
Stever Robbins,

I'm writing this as the U.S. federal government has shut down due to conflicts in Congress.

Some people are saying it's pure partisanship, combined with stubborn belligence on the part of The Other Side. In fact, I think it's all just an efficiency problem. As with any disagreement, the same arguments and responses come up again and again. Emotions get heated, and somehow, that same argument you've used so unsuccessfully in the past seems like this time it will work, if only you can cram it down the other person's throat with enough volume and force. Guess what? It won't work.

My favorite tactic is to create a fight sheet, as discussed in my Get-it-Done Guy episode. Fight sheets let you pre-identify likely sources of conflict and, frankly, the equally predictable response and combacks that haven't worked before and won't work this time either. By putting these in black and white and using them at the start of a discusison, both sides can realize that staying stuck in the same rut won't produce new results. The rut is right there on paper, for both sides to see. By reviewing it and starting again, with the provision that what happens on the Fight Sheet stays on the Fight Sheet, the stage can be set for new ideas, which will hopefully lead to resolution.

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