Make your “Open Door Policy” a two-way street

“When the boss says “my door is always open” – it’s a cop-out, not an invitation. ” So says the authors of It Doesn’t Have To Be Crazy At Work, Jason fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. The authors are partners (Fried is CEO) in Basecamp, a leading project management and team communications software product. It Doesn’t […]

Premortem Analysis: The pathway to better team chemistry and project outcomes

“Why didn’t you speak up about that, at the time? This project has turned into a disaster.” Having spent a good chunk of my professional life in the project world, I’ve both asked that question, and, sigh, been the one having to answer that question. Projects fail, often, if not at a spectacular rate. One […]

Ear Hustle – A podcast about prison life that builds bridges between us and them

You can’t hate someone whose story you know. I recently discovered the Ear Hustle podcast. “Ear Hustle brings you the stories of life inside prison, shared and produced by those living it. The podcast is a partnership between Nigel Poor, a Bay Area visual artist and Earlonne Woods, formerly incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison, and was co-founded with […]

LADDERS: A Model for Scaling Constructive Behaviours in Your Organization

“It’s important that we reach out to them, and see it from their perspective.” “We need to be able to speak up, express our emotions, and say what’s on our mind.” “Let’s reflect on that option. I’m sure that with a bit of creative re-jigging, we can find a better solution.” Those are all constructive  […]

The technological future of conflict management is a mixed bag of goodies: My 2018 findings

Having spent many years in the information technology business, I retain a soft spot for technology. Once I thought technology was the Holy Grail for furthering social justice. That dream has faded somewhat over the decades. Nevertheless, promise holds external… here are ten of my favourite technology-oriented conflict management findings of 2018: Are men talking […]

Black and White: The Colours of Conflict [A Poem]

[Last Thursday night I attended Poems of Colour, an evening of local poetry, where I live, that celebrates diversity and explores the themes of race and ethnicity. There were many young poets reading. The MC was Victoria’s Youth Poet Laureate, Argutu Ali. The event was sponsored by the City of Victoria, and held at at […]

Apply the Science of Friendship to your next Community Collaboration

Work, and life, is more rewarding when it happens with friends. Reflecting back on my four decades (and counting) in the workforce, many of my most treasured work memories are time spent with co-workers who were also friends. We didn’t start out as friends. It happened organically, over time. Whether over coffee breaks, lunch hour […]

3 Mutual-benefit strategies to reduce conflict and improve the land-use application process

Land-use applications are a rich source of conflict, almost everywhere. That’s certainly my experience, here in Victoria. Too often, the interests of developers, public administrators and community members are in conflict, especially when a rezoning, or amendment to the Official Community Plan, is required.  It’s not uncommon for changes proposed by a developer to be […]

Summer before Fall: A technique to cool things down when team conflict gets too hot

How often have you been in a team or group meeting of some sort, conflict flares, and before you know it, there’s too much talking and not enough listening? Summer before Fall   Summer before Fall is a (non-gender-specific) technique to cool things down when tensions rise in your group. The technique promotes active listening […]

Pass to Receive: Using sports as a metaphor in communication skills training

As a youth, I often played pick-up football games with my buds.  We’d meet in the local park, pick teams, and away we’d go. When it was my turn to be quarterback, I loved calling a ‘long bomb’ passing play. When it went well, my pass was “right on the money”, and my friend caught […]