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Archive for March, 2012

Stand Your Ground?

The story goes that the following radio conversation took place between a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier (U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln) and Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland in October, 1995

Canadians: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the South to avoid collision.

Americans: Recommend you divert your course 15 degrees to the North to avoid a collision.

Canadians: Negative. You will have to divert your course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision.

Americans: This is the Captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course.

Canadians: No, I say again, you divert YOUR course.

Americans: THIS IS THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER USS LINCOLN, THE SECOND LARGEST SHIP IN THE UNITED STATES’ ATLANTIC FLEET. WE ARE ACCOMPANIED BY THREE DESTROYERS, THREE CRUISERS AND NUMEROUS SUPPORT VESSELS. I DEMAND THAT YOU CHANGE YOUR COURSE 15 DEGREES NORTH–I SAY AGAIN, THAT’S ONE FIVE DEGREES NORTH–OR COUNTER-MEASURES WILL BE UNDERTAKEN TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF THIS SHIP.

Canadians: This is a lighthouse. Your call.


What about you? Do you approach conflict like the battleship or the lighthouse?

The Battleship

When we have a difference of opinion, some of us believe in taking the “battleship” approach.

We have a point to make.

We want something done.

Now.

We’re convinced we’re right and we’re not about to budge.

We warn.

We threaten.

We intimidate.

We attempt to get our way by throwing our weight around.

At work it may take the form of pulling rank, “I’m your boss …”

At home it becomes, “Because I said so.”

Why do we do it?

Because it’s what we learned and because we think it works.

Because we believe those with the power should make the rules.

Lighthouse

Others prefer to deal with differences by taking the “lighthouse” position.

We know where we stand, we are confident in our position and we need not threaten others to get our way.

We are assertive without becoming aggressive.

We listen.

We discuss.

Our response is more, “I’d like to come up with a way that works for both of us.”

Why do we do it?

Because we believe the more information we have the better decisions we make.

Because we believe people are more likely to listen and implement if they feel listened to and understand why we are taking a particular course of action.

The Choice is Yours

So what will it be?

How will you choose to deal with the next confrontation or disagreement?

Will you become a “battleship” or a “lighthouse?”

Will you look for short-term gain with no regard for long-term consequences, or will you carefully consider the results of your actions?

Will you throw your weight around with no regard for others, or will you be firm but respectful?

Conflict is inevitable but the way we choose to deal with conflict is our choice.

Do you stand your ground or do you yield?

As the story reminds us, the next time you face a confrontation, it’s “Your call.”

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CTS Consulting, Inc

3126 Berkshire Road

Baltimore, Maryland 21214

phone 410-444-5857

cell 443-286-2488