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Tug of WarEach month I send out a newsletter. The title of this publication is Putting It in Context. My readers know that, while the subjects I cover may touch on a range of issues, they all center on the core themes of my books, speeches, training modules, and the other core services of my business.

I will occasionally take a risk and tackle a subject I don’t normally talk about, such as leadership, but I do so in the context of a specific subject or issue; otherwise, it’s like tossing a pail of water into the ocean.

Also, regardless of that month’s subject, I always tie the idea in the letter with my closing thought. Each letter ends with my “Food for Thought” statement. This closing is either something I want people to think about, or I connect it to something someone else said that is particularly relevant to the month’s topic.

Yesterday’s letter was about perceptions and misperceptions as it relates to conflict in the workplace, and how many people think that what works in one set of circumstances should work elsewhere. One of the subjects I touched on was that negotiations and mediations are not the same. The processes and techniques of each may overlap occasionally, but to assume they do so in most circumstances is a recipe for failure.

In my closing I reminded readers that “A successful negotiation requires compromise, but successful conflict resolution requires consensus. Sometimes the two meet in the middle, and sometimes they don’t”.

Experienced leaders and senior managers know the difference between the two, and avoid mixing the two concepts. Further down the chain managers and supervisors frequently do get it wrong in that they try to direct parties in conflict to compromise.

The parties may yield to that pressure in the near term, but it will re-surface at a most undesirable moment. In a conflict situation it is not the agreement that matters, but the consensus on which the agreement rests.

So keep reading my letters, and I invite anyone to call who simply has a question unrelated to a specific problem. No one will try to sell you anything. If you have a concern about something specific, then I invite you to call me at your earliest convenience. During the month of August the first ½ hour is free.

We can be reached at:,, or at (C) 832-452-8537; (O) 346-561-0612.