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04.26.24 Possible: How to Transform Any Conflict In Many conflicts seem impossible. But if you start from that assumption, that is most likely where you will end up—it’s impossible. But if you start from possibility, you might just end up with a practical solution to de-escalate the conflict. You become what William Ury calls a One of the problems we face when in conflict is that we get caught up in the past instead of focusing on what is possible—what the possible future could look like. We attack one another instead of the problem. Possible does not mean a neat resolution. More often, it means gradual improvements in relationships that, over time, can make a difference. Relationships can be messy. Possible means finding ways forward where there seem to be none. It means creating little breakthroughs that can build into bigger breakthroughs over time. The core principle of Ury has developed a model that can, over time, help us develop a mindset for navigating conflict. It is a way to Going to the balcony unlocks the potential Ury carefully explains each section of the path with engaging and detailed examples. I will provide a brief overview here, but by reading it, you will discover a powerful tool for taking on your toughest issues and revolutionizing your interactions. Rather than reacting to difficult situations, we first go to the balcony. “The balcony is a place of calm and perspective where we can keep our eyes on the prize.” We go to the balcony by exercising three powers that we all have: the power to and focus our attention on what we really want to achieve (the interests that lie underneath our positions – the why versus the what), and the power to zoom in and keep our focus on the big picture. zoom out The biggest obstacle to getting what I want is not the difficult person on the A golden bridge is a compelling invitation for the parties to cross the chasm of conflict. It begins with In conflict, we naturally start with where Listening shows respect, and it is the greatest concession we can make, and it costs the least. We easily get confused about respect, often thinking that others have to earn our respect. Not so. Showing respect does not come from weakness or insecurity but rather from strength and confidence. Respect for the other person flows directly from respect for yourself. You give respect to the other not so much because of who Building a golden bridge is where we get creative and turn an either-or dilemma in a both-and outcome. This is where listening becomes critical. “By delving deep into what people really want, we may discover that although the parties’ From what we have learned, we make it easier for the other party to say yes. “Our job in difficult situations is to We are all connected. We are part of a whole—a community. The third side is the side of the whole. It is each of us working together for the good of the whole. Instead of us against them, if we take the perspective of the whole, we use the power of peers to transform a conflict. The third side unlocks the potential The third side involves three powers. “The first is the power to —to help the parties go to the balcony and build a golden bridge when it is not at all easy to do. The third is the power to help , which brings the full influence and leverage of the community to bear.” swarm To help, we begin by asking clarifying questions. Often, they will persuade themselves. Advice is different from counsel. Ury adds, “To offer counsel is different, in my experience, from simply offering advice. Advice starts from the advisor’s perspective. Counsel, by contrast, starts from the other person’s perspective.” To help, you need to understand the local knowledge or context. It is easy to take what we have learned and impose it on the situation in the form of advice. General knowledge, if it is applicable at all, is sometimes hard for people to apply to their specific situation. “The trick is to blend general knowledge with as much local knowledge as possible.” “To It is amazing to think of how many bridges we have seen burnt as a result of not applying these principles in conflict situations. We tell or demand rather than attract and guide. We go to the gutter instead of the balcony. We burn rather than build. We reduce everything to either-or rather than making room for the whole. Be a * * * Follow us on Instagram and X for additional leadership and personal development ideas. * * *
Posted by Michael McKinney at 10:46 AM


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