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Achieve greater business results through conflict management and effective relationships
Achieve greater business results through conflict management and effective relationships


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When Simon Gallon worked with a #motorindustry business - it was interesting to see what the sales teams’ view of their customers were (who walked into the showroom). Also - how they hadn’t thought about what the customers thought of them (when they didn’t get up to speak to them). Simon worked through their Motivation Value Systems (MVS) and showed them the impact of their own personal filters on their sales figures!
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By Simon Gallon

My Christmas present wish list this year has on it the ability to manage my judgement and expectations of others more effectively in the future.

The Christmas spirit certainly exists in many places at this time of year and the old saying of ‘good will to all men’ in these days of political overdone correctness perhaps should read ‘increased understanding of all people’.

Specifically when we feel threatened by their words or actions or simply get the wrong end of the stick.

Within Personal Strengths we have a global community within which the common language is English.

How many times have we sat in meetings and at best, seen the funny side of an alternative meaning of a poorly described or inappropriately used phrase… or at worst cringed at the collection of disconnected words?

Interestingly in these situations offence is never taken – in fact with gentle enquiring tones and even respect for the person’s efforts to communicate with us in ‘our’ language. We tend to seek clarification of what the person was trying to express, quite often allowing the transmitter to persevere so they can add more information until we finally get their true intention.

I have been guilty of reacting in meetings and in general communication where my ‘Quick To Act’ strength has led me to interrupt and not only assume I knew what was being intended but manage to object to it all in one breath!

And yet the situation is basically the same - two or more people communicating using English as the common language but with one big difference.

When listening to someone who does not have English as their mother tongue I do not expect them to communicate perfectly clearly, I do not expect to understand straight away, I do expect to listen more attentively and I do expect to ask for clarification.

So one of my Christmas wishes is to learn to see everyone as having their own unique language and therefore I need to listen more patiently and reserve judgement until I am clear that I understand their intentions and not expect them to speak the ‘same’ language as me – after all it is what it says in this video!

And finally…

As it is a time for sharing, why not let us know what you have put on on your ‘personal management’ Christmas wish list? Let’s see what differences there are between different MVSs!

Hope everyone has a tolerant, non-judgemental and most of all very Happy Christmas!
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Have you read our November 2012 newsletter yet? Featuring important updates for 2013. Have a look!
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By Simon Gallon

A common question when looking at the SDI Dynamic Triangle is ‘what makes the perfect team?’ Often followed by ‘surely to be balanced we need each MVS present?’

My stock answer, after referring to the SDI not being competency based etc, is to list some of the potential perceptions of Overdone Strengths between each MVS and then ask what kind of atmosphere there might be if these perceptions are running.

Watching the rowing events during the Olympics highlighted the real answer to the question of what makes the perfect team. Sir Steve Redgrave pointed out that in rowing you can take the fastest eight, four or pair of individual rowers and put them in a boat, but they can still be beaten by a crew of slower individuals.

Some years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Kriss Akabusi; he ran the final leg of the 4x400m relay in the 1991 Tokyo World Athletic Championships. This was another example of, on paper at least, an American team that should not be beaten and yet Team GB thought differently, worked together with confidence and brought home the gold.

When looking at a Dynamic Triangle with a variety of positions scattered around it, the answer is not on the paper chart. It is in the learning. It is the appreciation of the different strengths each brings to the team. It is the harnessing of the very differences that cause other teams their problems that makes a difference.

The understanding that comes from the SDI and Portrait of Personal Strengths-based conversations brings people closer together. It energises and promotes creativity and confidence. Conflict is inevitable, however when handled effectively it can strengthen relationships. Even when certain areas are not covered we can compensate behaviourally and train to develop those areas. These tools do not necessarily make the ‘perfect team’ but they certainly help to put your team ahead of most others.
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By Simon Gallon

Picture the scene. You are in the last three miles of your journey home, a little tired but feeling good after a great day out learning new things.
You pull out of a junction to find, in a lapse of concentration, the gap you’ve driven into is closing as a car has appeared from nowhere.

The solution? Apply that right foot and get out of danger.

One of my well-used excuses for having powerful motorcars is exactly for these rare occasions where speed IS a safety feature.

So now safely in the traffic the guy behind has not even had to brake but I am a little close to the guy in front. Close enough in fact to lip-read exactly what he calls me in his rear view mirror. Not happy with him questioning my legitimacy I do exactly what I shouldn’t, which is to engage with the man using gestures of disbelief and to stay close enough to witness the increasing variety of hand signals from inside his car.

This continues for about a mile, then relief – the turn into our village appears on the right. I relax. Sadly he indicates right, I pull way back to avoid any further eye contact and am now dreading that he is a neighbour that I have not met before. Luckily he drives past my turn and I head down the lane into my drive, park up and start unpacking my car.

Suddenly I hear it – first the car horn then the “Oy you!” shouted from the car. He has spotted where I turned into and turned his car around and found where I live! The combination of my ‘Red’ challenging style and this guy’s current state is really not a good combination, despite my internal dialogue going crazy.

At this point I suddenly have a rare case of personal calm. I walk up to the passenger window and am met with a torrent of verbal abuse including a range of swear words and assumptions about my personality because I have a ‘flash’ car.  I wait and take it, trying to appear neither submissive nor confrontational. I then break his state by asking him if he is the guy that I pulled out behind – he has to say ‘yes’. I asked him if I was the reason he was so agitated and again he says ‘yes’. The verbal abuse stops but I get an impassioned and detailed explanation of how dangerous it is carrying gardening equipment in the back of a car because if he had to brake really hard it could all come forward and really hurt someone. He also added a personal story about a niece who was nearly killed in a similar scenario. Because I was managing myself quite well at this point I did not listen to my internal dialogue, which was pointing out to him that as I was behind him I could not cause him to brake and perhaps securing dangerous tools in his car might be a solution. Something told me that a Green, logical statement of facts was not going to help here.

Having listened to his story I told him mine, covering how I had made a poor judgment at the junction which was compounded by another car appearing and that as I was responsible for him getting so wound up that I was really sorry. As the energy dropped further he then told me that his Dad was a motorcyclist and it’s other drivers that cause accidents. Time to connect! I informed him that I also ride and even though riding bikes tends to make you more aware of what goes on around you, we are all capable of making mistakes when out on the road. I emphasised the ‘we are all’ and apologised again, saying he happened to have met me when I was having one of those days.

At this point he then informs me that he has had a terrible day and that is why he is wound up. I tell him that I am glad (where did that come from?!) that he followed me home and sorted it out as I would have continued thinking about it and would have ruined my evening.

“How are you feeling now?” I asked.
“Better,” he replied.
“Great! So we’d both better get home?”
“Yep, cheers mate!”

I’m left standing in the drive slightly shaking, but just amazed at how a potentially very bad situation was averted.

So what made the difference?
1.  Presence of mind – I caught myself before I went down my natural challenging style
2.  He was allowed to speak and get stuff of his chest
3.  His energy and level of detail were matched at two levels (Red and Green)
4.  I apologised – he clearly thought he was the victim so was looking for an apology. If you are thinking “why should I apologise if it was not my fault”, think carefully about the language I used. I apologised for upsetting him, not for anything to do with the road manners. This allowed me to apologise genuinely. However a general rule phrase like “I am sorry” or “I didn’t realise” tends to take the energy down a couple of notches
5.  Rapport building came in right at the end.

If I was not aware of the impact of my Conflict Style on others and hadn’t been able to take a different direction things would have got a lot worse. The fact that the SDI shows us how to recognise what and how the needs of others change during conflict and non-conflict situations really enabled me to match appropriately the energy and direction he was going, also to know when to speak and when to keep quiet.

Reflecting on the whole episode I realise that the more aware we are of what goes on in our relationships (however we meet) the more chance we have to practise. And ultimately the better we get at managing situations.

Without the SDI I may have looked a little different this morning!
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