Posts Tagged ‘conflict’

The art of negotiation

Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

Let's consider what the fight for equal pay can teach us about the art of negotiation. In common with anything we find contentious, it brings with it tricky waters to navigate, teeming with the potential for conflict. 

Potential deadlock

In one camp, we have the female employee, who's feeling angry and short-changed compared with her male colleagues. She may feel she has no choice but to fight for more pay. In the other camp, we have her manager who is faced with trying to broker an agreement. And, typically in this day and age of tight budgets and limited resources, may not be in a position to agree to a salary increase, however much he or she may wish to. 

Photo by Anna Kolosyuk on Unsplash

These two parties may seem utterly juxtaposed as they sit across the table from each other. What one demands, the other cannot (or, in the worst-case scenario, will not) grant. One side will almost inevitably enter into the discussion preparing for disappointment and rejection. The other will be shoring up their defences in the event of a deadlock. To their minds, the outcome will be that of “winner” and “loser”. Just as it is with conflict beyond the workplace, this could be a recipe for negotiating disaster. 

Negotiating your way past checkmate

But do two opposing positions automatically mean checkmate? In our War to Peace® Advanced Negotiator Programme, we teach participants how to use the 7 Elements of Negotiation. This is the Harvard methodology that was used to negotiate the end of apartheid and create the Camp David Accords. 

How could this renowned methodology help these two people? Instead of approaching the conversation as adversaries, they could approach it as joint problem-solvers, where the solution satisfies both parties interests, not their positions. The solution needs to have legitimacy, so that it feels fair, and it should be the best of many options that are better than each party’s best alternative (BATNA).  

Partnering up

Even in a fraught situation such as this one, once we stop viewing someone as an opponent, we can start viewing them as a partner. And, if the communication is good and any commitments are well planned, using these 7 Elements will ensure that the relationship will be at least as good, if not better, than it was at the beginning. 

The sublime art of negotiation is a combination of joint brushstrokes generating options that could not be generated alone. 

What could you do?

  1. Consider the interests (the why) behind the position (the what). So what are the underlying reasons, values or motivations behind the position you have taken? What about theirs?
  2. How can you ensure that the options you generate have legitimacy? In other words, they are fair.
  3. What's your / their BATNA (best alternative to the negotiated agreement)? This is the most advantageous alternative course of action either of you can take if your negotiation fails and an agreement cannot be reached.
  4. Pay attention to how you are being in the negotiation. By keeping the 7 Elements in mind, the relationship can be as good or even stronger at the end of your negotiations.

Do you know someone who could benefit from War to Peace®?

If you, or someone you know, could benefit from navigating the tricky waters of conflict our next open-access War to Peace® workshop is on 28th June.

If you would like to know about whether our War to Peace® Advanced Negotiator Programme could help you with a tricky negotiation, please contact us. 

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When you let their mood affect you

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018

David’s first waking thought every weekday morning was to wonder what sort of mood his boss would in and how much conflict he'd have to deal with that day. On the train in to work, his mind would whir with all the previous few days' interactions with his boss, hunting for clues as to the atmosphere in the office and preparing for the worst.

For when his boss was in a bad mood, it affected David’s whole day, so he spent a great deal of time thinking about how he could ensure he didn't provoke him, but ended up feeling defensive and edgy whenever they had a meeting. David would hide these feelings behind a well-practised smile when he was at work, only letting his guard down when he got home, where he often found himself taking out his frustrations on his wife and kids.

When David attended a recent War to Peace® workshop, he realised that his moods had been tethered to his boss's and he had been blaming his boss for his own edginess; he had been trying to appease his boss instead of working on the thing he did have control over – himself.

Control the Controllables

We may never know why someone is moody and our attempts to appease them can in fact escalate their mood. David had been angry because he felt that it was unprofessional for his boss to be so erratic. However, he came to realise that it was far easier to look at his own mood than to attempt change his boss's.

Think about the weather. Whilst you might prefer the sun to shine warmly from a clear blue sky, sometimes it’s cloudy or rainy instead. Of course there is no way of controlling the weather, so if it looks inclement, you take precautions such as carrying an umbrella or wearing an extra layer or two. It might be disappointing if an outdoor event you had planned is rained off, but you find something else to do indoors.

In other words, you control the controllables.

So, whilst his boss’s moods might not be what David would want to encounter, he doesn't need to take them on board.  Today, David is finding being at work much easier, having experienced how to choose his own mood in several ways at the War to Peace® workshop. His boss continues to be erratic, but David puts up his metaphorical umbrella and carries on with his day and no longer allows it to affect him. His family are feeling the benefits too!

Over to you

  1. The next time you feel at the mercy of someone else’s mood, stop and focus your attention on what is within your control.
  2. Notice the thoughts you are having about your day and the people around you. The mood you are in is a great indicator of whether there is too much noise and chatter in your head. Simply noticing your thoughts allows them to pass.
  3. Notice how your body feels and check in with what it needs. All the wisdom you ever need is inside you; you simply need to get better at acknowledging its presence.
  4. What you are thinking, feeling, saying and doing is always within your control - what everyone else is doing is not. Where do you want to focus your energy and attention today?

Do you know someone who could benefit from War to Peace®?

If you know someone who would benefit from learning how to control the controllables in their interactions with their colleagues, family or friends,  our next open-access War to Peace® workshop is in London this Friday 5 October (just 3 spaces left). To book a space, click here.

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Getting bogged down by someone else’s mood? Free yourself by doing this instead @halcyonglobal




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©Halcyon Global 2018

Could you be (unintentionally) making things worse?

Monday, September 3rd, 2018

small__2271763055Richard was perplexed and annoyed. For the past few months, his colleague Julie had been moody, unhelpful and would barely look him in the eye. In meetings with other people present, she was as animated as she had always been, but if he was talking she would resume her sulky look. Richard had spent quite some time trying to work out what could be wrong, but Julie disappeared as soon as there might be an opportunity for him to talk to her about it.

Talking about his situation at an in-house War to Peace®workshop at work, Richard stopped and sighed. He admitted that he could really do without the hassle and stress of dealing with Julie right now. He told us that his wife had been diagnosed with cancer and he was having problems sleeping, as his wife would often have violent coughing fits and he would lie awake worrying about their future. When he went into work, he could really do without the added complication of a sulky colleague to deal with. Richard clenched his jaw and muttered, “I’ve just about had it up to here with her. I’ve tried to understand and she just avoids me. Sometimes I just want to yell at her!”

Another participant in the workshop cleared her throat and put up her hand to speak. She had struggled with whether to share this, but she had heard Julie talking to another colleague about her worries that Richard didn’t like her and didn’t think she was pulling her weight in the department. She had complained that Richard had been withdrawn for some time, and seemed distant and irritated. Julie was convinced it was because of her work and it would only be a matter of weeks before he got her fired.

file8061347830293Suddenly it was clear that Richard’s situation was a great example of the Spiral of Disempowerment™, which reveals to us our (often unconscious) role in the conflict. It shows how our perceptions, beliefs and emotional state invite from the other person the very behaviour we want to change. So Richard's worried, tired demeanour as a result of too many broken nights had been misread by Julie as a sign that he was irritated by her and dismissive of her work. Julie had felt rejected and defensive, which had meant that she behaved in a disconnected, sulky way with Richard. Her behaviour was then perceived by him to be obstructive and unhelpful - he felt first irritated and then dismissive, and so the cycle went on.

Just being able to see the situation from this viewpoint made things immediately clearer for Richard and he felt as though a huge weight had been lifted from him. He saw a different story from the one he had held previously, and he understood how Julie could have misread his behaviour at work. He vowed to talk to her about what he was going through at home so that she could understand the situation too.

A fortnight later, he emailed to tell us that the work environment was much easier. He had chatted with Julie and she had been very supportive - and was feeling relieved too, now that she knew her job wasn’t in jeopardy. They had both been amazed at the power of their own assumptions about the other to affect their feelings and behaviour. Richard now keeps a printout of the Spiral of Disempowerment™ by his desk to remind him to check how much he has unwittingly invested in any conflicts that arise.

Over to you

If you are in conflict with someone at home or at work, download the Spiral of Disempowerment™ tool and work through it. It’s a great way of seeing the part you play in the situation. If you need more help, come and join us at our next open-access War to Peace®workshop.

Do you know someone who could benefit from War to Peace®?

If you know someone who would benefit from our award-winning War to Peace® work, our final open-access course for 2018 is on 5 October. To book click here. And if your team could benefit from an in-house workshop, contact us here.

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©Halcyon Global 2018


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What is being ‘professional’ costing you?

Tuesday, August 14th, 2018

In Nina's new management role, she quickly earned a reputation for being calm and 'professional'. You see Nina had long ago learned to suppress her real self at work because the real Nina is colourful and loud, and she commands attention by simply walking into the room.

Nina learned the hard way as a child that expressing her emotion would invite conflict from her peers and her family. So she quickly learned to bite her tongue when she was aggrieved. So 'calm and professional' Nina puts on her mask as she steps into the office each day and regularly experiences anger rising up in her throat whenever her needs are overlooked or her ideas are stolen, but each time she swallows it down, often finding herself suffering from throat infections, especially when she takes time out for a holiday.

After years of practice, Nina had begun to notice that her mask was no longer reserved just for work. Despite being a natural people person, she revealed that if she ever felt hurt or upset, she would avoid social situations for fear of accidentally letting her true feelings slip, or otherwise she would have to put on the mask again, which left her feeling exhausted. After years of this behaviour, Nina recognised that she had become defensive, angry and suspicious of others and found her way to a War to Peace® workshop.

During a conversation about the ‘Unlucky 7’ signs of being in conflict, Nina's ears pricked up when she heard that one of the signs is ‘I gather allies and evidence to prove that I am right.’ She realised that this is exactly what she did at school when she felt she had been wronged. She would tell her friends what had happened, they would take ‘sides’ with her and invariably, a small disagreement would escalate into a row which would last for weeks between factions of classmates.

Nina was also relieved to learn that she wasn't the only one who gathers evidence to prove she is right about the people she is in conflict with and she shared that, as an adult, her reaction is to sit and wallow in her 'rightness', leaving her mind whirring with all the things she wished she said when the conflict first arose. At the War to Peace® workshop she experienced a completely new way of dealing with this and vowed to come up with her own version that would help her release upset, instead of holding it in or gathering evidence and allies as she had done in the past.

Four months later, we heard from a very relaxed and much more outgoing Nina, who shared that she had made an agreement with a highly trusted friend to be each other’s 'occasional rant partner’. The simple rules were that one could phone the other and ask permission to rant. The other person would make sure they were out of earshot of anyone else and then the caller had three minutes to shout, swear, scream and, well, rant about something that had upset them. The rant partner would listen, not interrupt and would let them know that their rant had been heard. Crucially, the rant was never mentioned again or brought up in conversation in the future (it would be so easy to become an ally after all). The rant was treated purely as a vent and its contents were not given importance.

Nina told us that it felt as though the large, familiar lump had finally cleared from her throat. Whenever she got angry and ranted, she didn’t feel the need to gather allies or to wallow in the evidence that she was ‘right’. She felt seen by her friend, was able to let it go, and then was far better equipped to objectively assess the situations that had caused the rage. And she would witness her friend too, so instead of being the moaning partners and allies they had once been to each other, they were supporting each other in a far more helpful way. Nina has also given us permission to share that after many years of singledom, she is now dating - and has been leaving her mask at home!

Over to you

When do you find yourself wearing a mask? Could you benefit from having a rant partner instead of an ally? Identify someone today who could fulfil that role for you.

Do you know someone who could benefit from War to Peace®?

If you know someone who would benefit from this work, our next open-access War to Peace® workshop is on 5 October and we have just nine spaces left. To book your place, click here.

P.S. Pass it on!

Found this useful? Then please share this article using the icons below and do leave us a comment.

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©Halcyon Global 2018

Are you secretly seething?

Sunday, July 8th, 2018

Just the thought of them is enough to get your hackles up. And you have to see them soon so you're already working out your strategy. You find them entering your thoughts at random times of the day, you imagine what you will say to them when you next see them - you long to put them in their place once and for all.

You fantasise about yelling at them and telling them in no uncertain terms all the things you've always wanted to say, but you don't want them to know they've got to you, so instead you work out how you can intellectually outwit them instead. Or perhaps, this time, you will be more subtle in how you show them your disappointment in them. These thoughts whir round and round in your head, and you find yourself spending an inordinate amount of time thinking about them.

Angry man: Are you secretly seething?You're secretly seething and you still don't know what you're going to do about it.

We suppress our emotions, yet they still disable us

For many of us, having grown up in an era of personal development and with the phrase ‘emotional intelligence’ being in common parlance since Daniel Goldman coined the term in the 90s, we have learned to contain our feelings about our obnoxious work colleague, family member or neighbour, or at least self-manage (often through gritted teeth) in their presence so we don’t appear to be the one with the problem.

So we may not be someone who is openly hostile, getting into heated arguments and forcing our opinion down someone else’s throat, but containing ourselves and keeping a lid on our emotions is still costing us. Instead of shouting and raging at them we may have managed to avoid having an outburst, but these kind of encounters leave us feeling drained, upset, vowing to avoid them or heading to the nearest bottle of wine to drown our sorrows.

It’s inevitable that, at times, we’ll come across other people whom we experience as unfair, incompetent, arrogant or simply downright annoying. And no matter how emotionally intelligent we are, the way some people behave would drive a saint to lose their cool.

Repressed emotion breeds conflict

You’re not alone. In almost every workshop we hold, it only takes one person to talk about their feelings of pent-up rage about someone they work with, or encounter in their personal life, for a unison of nods from the other participants. We know it's no longer acceptable to have an emotional outburst in the workplace or with our in-laws so when we find ourselves riled up by someone, we often feel doubly resentful that we've had to hold it all in - or we have an acute sense of disappointment about ourselves for letting them get under our skin in the first place. Regardless of how incompetent, annoying, unfair (add in your own descriptor) they are, we know that resenting them isn’t the best course of action, especially when it inevitably tips over into sniping or point scoring, either directly toward them, or to those closest to us.

And so you add another layer of conflict to the feelings you’re already experiencing, meaning a whole lot of mental energy is being wasted and results in you losing focus, reducing your capacity to shine, taking it out on other people, or beating yourself to a small pulp.

So if you’re secretly seething, what can you do?

  1. The first step is to be honest with yourself about what’s going on for you internally. We tend to think of conflict as being characterised by overt disagreements, or even forms of aggression, like raised voices or sarcasm. But even if you are not externalising your thoughts and feelings, the fact that you’re seething inside is costing you.
  2. The second thing to remember is that this conflict and what you're feeling about it isn’t who you are. It helps us to think about it as a place we visit from time to time - we refer to this as 'being in the Red' - which means it is also a place we can move away from once we learn how. No matter how intense your internal dialogue might be at times, the “monster” who’s seething inside is not who you are as a person.
  3. The true person you are is someone at ease, with a clear head who is able to respond to others, rather than react to them, even when they are behaving in ways that you don't like or agree with. We refer to this as being in the Green. This may not sound familiar to you right now, but you will have experienced this many times in your life when interacting with people you enjoy being with, when you are not policing yourself, and you are simply being you.

Moving forward

If you want to learn what secretly seething is costing you, and how to find your way back to your true self, join us for our next public workshop, which is in London on Friday this week. We have just two spaces left and you can book your place here.

Over to you

Can you relate to secretly seething? What impact did it have and what are your own tips for overcoming it?

We'd love to hear from you in the comments.

War to Peace® workshops

We run our award-winning War to Peace workshops a few times per year in London and these are open to anyone to attend. We also run in-house workshops and programmes for organisations all over the world, so if you want your people to thrive and work better together, click here to get in touch or call us on +44 (0) 20 8191 7072.

To be the first to hear about our new open-access workshop dates, and get free monthly tips and strategies for your relationship challenges, just leave your name and email address below.

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Are you secretly seething? Do you struggle to keep your cool? Then this blog post is for you from @halcyonglobal




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How to break the cycle of frustration

Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

As experts in conflict resolution and communication, you might think we notice conflict everywhere we go. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

The more we share this work and listen to the experience of our workshop participants, the more we understand that it’s really only a fraction of our interactions that cause us difficulties. The challenge is to stop those few difficult people from having a massive impact on our lives.

This scenario is one we’ve heard many times in different forms from participants in our workshops; see if you can relate.

Think of the most annoying person you know

Let’s call him John from the marketing department. He has a way of winding you up quickly and efficiently, and your colleagues agree that he is extremely annoying. This morning you had a run in with him that felt like the final straw.

But if you’re really honest, you have also have fallen into a pattern every time you encounter John. You anticipate his behaviour and, whatever he does, you heap your feelings and assumptions onto the already large pile that you have built up around John’s actions. It could be that he only has to look at you the ‘wrong way’ to start you off.

Take John’s actions today – at this morning's meeting – in isolation. Maybe he spoke a little loudly and interrupted you whilst you were speaking. If he had been a total stranger, would you have felt that tight, familiar knot of irritation so quickly in the pit of your stomach? Would you have cut off his conversation as swiftly as you did today?

What else might explain their actions?

What if you found out that John's annoying ways were driven by a misguided attempt to impress you because in fact he is intimidated by you?

Or that he has an anxiety disorder and acts the way he does to compensate for his panicky feelings?

If you can break down the ‘thing’ that you have created around John’s behaviour with your assumptions and shared history, you will find that you are able to be your normal, at ease, un-triggered self much faster.

The lens through which we view behaviour changes what we see

When we are in conflict with someone, whether at work or in our personal lives, it is very easy (and very common) to assume that all the unreasonable behaviour comes from them and we are the innocent victims of their irritating ways.

no-cycling-164123_640As we encounter the other person and their mannerisms again and again, we create mental threads of the things they do and say that wind us up. We weave stories and assumptions around these until we have made something quite substantial.

However, this ‘thing’ that we create is more of our making than the other person’s and affects the way that we behave when around them, often making the problem worse.

It's a cycle of frustration that gets in the way of us feeling at ease.

Finding ease with conflict

One of the ways to break the cycle of frustration is to ask yourself 'what else could this mean?' (the 'this' being the thing they say or do that bothers you). When we find someone especially challenging, we often make the meaning very personal to us.

We often believe the other person is doing things deliberately to annoy or antagonise us and we have tons of evidence to prove ourselves right.

The question is - would you rather stay being 'right' and harbouring all this malaise, or would you rather take your power back and be in control of how you are feeling and behaving around this person, no matter what they do?

Taking a different perspective

Another way is to imagine that a person you really like did the thing that this person does that bothers you so much. Consider how you would handle them.

Oftentimes we find that we apply very different rules to different people - it would be okay if x did that thing but if y does it, we are all over them like a rash!

Each time we challenge our own perceptions about someone's behaviour and consider them through a new lens, we are weakening the hold this person has over us and this gives us the power to break the cycle, and get back to being at ease - in other words, being our normal, un-triggered self.

You'll be amazed at how much easier life is when you are living it at ease and not beholden to other people's behaviour.

Understanding why we get frustrated

On the War to Peace® workshop, we explore this cycle using a tool called the Spiral of Disempowerment™ (you can download it here) which illustrates this pattern well.

Person A acts or speaks in a certain way, which is then perceived by Person B as being annoying or rude, Person B then acts or speaks to Person A differently, causing Person B to perceive Person A in a negative light, affecting their thoughts and behaviour… and so it goes on in a cycle of disempowerment and discontentment.

The good news is that cycles like these can be broken. In this case, the very first step is to recognise the pattern and to focus on changing the part that's in our control.

Over to you

In what ways can you recognise your own role in the Spiral of Disempowerment™? What could you do to break the cycle?

Do you know someone who could benefit from War to Peace®?

If you would benefit from breaking the cycle, our next open-access War to Peace® workshop is on 13 July. Click here to find out more and book your place - only 4 spaces remain at the time of writing.

P.S. pass it on!

If you know someone who might find this article helpful, do let them know. You can share it by using one of the buttons below.



Feeling frustrated with someone's behaviour at work? Here's how to break the cycle and find peace, from @halcyonglobal




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What dealing with difficult people is costing you

Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

Dealing with difficult people is a challenge for all of us at times. Take a moment to think about the most frustrating person in your life right now.

Dealing with difficult peopleMaybe there’s a recent hire in your office who’s been really getting on your nerves? You sense a blow up with them is probably on the horizon.

Does your oldest friend drive you up the wall with those passive-aggressive questions about how everything’s going? Or your sibling fail to hide his or her contempt for your chosen career path?

Today, I want to invite you to reflect on what this conflict is costing you, and suggest a new approach to your interactions.

What do we mean by 'conflict?'

It’s worth noting that when I speak about ‘conflict’ we may have a different understanding of what it means. When we think of conflict, we typically think about two or more people, organisations, parties or countries that have fallen out and are openly hostile to one another.

And when we think about the term in relation to ourselves, we would often say we don’t have any conflict because what we’re experiencing doesn’t align with our worldview of what ‘conflict’ is. To give you an example from my own life, even when I was estranged from my Dad for 17 years, I wouldn’t have said we were in conflict because I’d severed my ties with him, so there wasn’t any ongoing dispute - at least not externally.

But the reality is, if there’s someone in your life you find difficult, you’re experiencing conflict, even if you’re not visibly coming into dispute with them. Internally, they have an effect on you – at the cost of your own peace of mind.

The physical and emotional costs of conflict

Our response to the mere mention of those challenging individuals is a clue that there’s a lot going on under the surface. We’re constantly carrying (often subconsciously) our emotions about that person. And that takes some of our energy, each time we think about, interact with, or anticipate our next encounter with them.

Those challenging people take up space in our minds, and can actually create physical responses. When I asked you to think about who they were, you might have noticed some sensations. Did your jaw clench, your heart start to beat faster, or your stomach churn? Perhaps you simply experienced a sinking feeling or noticed a deep sigh?

On a physical level, then, we’re paying a price in terms of the stress response our bodies go into: raised cortisol levels can cause all kinds of effects, from slowed metabolism to raised blood pressure. But the costs of conflict don’t stop there.

Conflict has an impact on many areas of our lives

As well as the physical and emotional effects, being in conflict with someone also has an impact on how well we’re able to focus and concentrate. If an argument or difficult relationship leads us to lose sleep, that can go on to have a whole other chain of effects on our performance, cognitive processing and ability to make good decisions.

What’s especially frustrating is when you know you’ve done everything you can – you’ve tried being on your best behaviour; you’ve tried pointing out how the other person is making you feel; you’ve tried ignoring them, or avoiding them, or cutting them out of your life entirely. But the situation is still invading your thoughts. Whatever you have tried, however you have changed your behaviour, it doesn’t seem to have had any effect on theirs. It feels as though you are out of options.

These lingering conflict can show up in “echoes” in other, unrelated situations. We might find, for example, that coming into contact with someone who reminds us of someone we’re in conflict up suddenly triggers similar emotions.

(If someone you’re managing reminds you of your stubborn younger brother who you haven’t spoken to in years, it can be tough to treat them the same way you would someone else.)

The rewards of effectively interacting with those difficult people

It can be uncomfortable to realise just how big an impact difficult people have on our lives, and to see the conflict we’re experiencing for what it is. It’s also very normal! Our workshop participants often express surprise to find that the simmering anger or hurt they feel about neighbours, friends, family members or colleagues is shared by others in the room.

But recognising the effect they have also opens up the potential for incredible transformation that’s a lot easier than we think.

When we learn effective strategies to bring ease to interactions with difficult people, it releases the energy, focus and physical stress they would otherwise cost us.

That doesn’t mean that we’ll never have a challenging interaction again. There’s no magic wand we can wave to stop infuriating people from coming into our lives, or change the behaviours of the ones who are already there.

But there are simple techniques you will experience at our award-winning workshop that  you can put in place to bring a sense of freedom and ease to the way you experience those people.

And if the costs of staying stuck are great, the rewards of allowing that ease to come in feel even greater.

Over to you

Who's the most challenging person in your life, and what about their behaviour niggles you? Without naming names, can you share a few details in the comments? It can be so helpful to know we're not alone – and your experience might help someone else take steps towards resolving their own challenging relationship.

If you're ready to move on

If you're ready to bring ease and freedom into your life no matter how challenging the people in your world are, then do join us for one of our popular, award-winning, open-access workshops. The next one is on 13th July 2018, and we have just five spaces left at the time of writing. So if you’re looking for a first or next step on your journey of personal development, we’d love to welcome you. Click here to find out more and book your place.

Want to find out what the impact could be on your team sooner? We've been running in-house workshops using our award-winning methodology for over a decade; simply click here to get in touch or call us on +44 (0) 20 8191 7072 and let us know what you're looking for. To be the first to hear about our new open-access workshop dates, and get free monthly tips and strategies for your relationship challenges, just leave your name and email address below.

P.S. pass it on!

If you know someone who might find this article helpful, let them know. Share it by using one of the buttons below.



Who's the most frustrating person in your life right now? Have you considered the real impact they're having?

Here's what dealing with difficult people is costing you (and what to do about it), from @halcyonglobal




Photo via Pixabay

What do you need to know before coming to a War to Peace® workshop?

Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

When you arrive at a War to Peace® workshop, what can you expect to find?

There’s usually a bubble of excitement in the air as coffee is sipped and introductions are made.

Some people have travelled a long way to get there, others have hopped across London on the Tube.

Who comes to a War to Peace® workshop?

One thing that people are often curious about when deciding whether or not to join a workshop is what kind of experience they need to have had before.

Woman reading: What do I need to know before attending a War to Peace® workshop?Will they find themselves at sea in a room of self-development gurus, who spend the best part of their day navel-gazing or searching for inner peace, and can’t wait to share their deepest feelings with a roomful of strangers?

Or are they going to arrive in a crowd of ruthlessly efficient corporate types, whose one aim is to apply the technique so they can negotiate more effectively and be more powerful leaders and managers?

The truth is, it’s a little more complex than that.

The one qualification we all need

The only qualification you need to attend one our award-winning workshops is this: to have had some previous experience of interacting with other human beings.

Really, that’s all it takes.

We’re here to help people experience a new - and more helpful - way of interacting with the people they find most difficult. These difficulties can range from the smallest issue (the person in the office who has a particular habit that particularly grates on you) to the bigger and more complex issues (your ex-partner, who betrayed you and who you’re now sharing childcare with; a parental relationship that is not working out; the dreaded in-law who is a permanent feature in your life - you’ll know only too well who’s the unwanted regular visitor occupying your head space).

You don’t need to have experience with any kind of therapy or self-help. You won’t be forced to share personal details or open up about anything you don’t want to. And there are invariably one or two people who arrive with a good dose of skepticism – like Gordon, for example – who leave with a completely life-altering experience.

What if I’ve done a lot of personal development work already?

When you’ve been exploring personal development for a while, it can sometimes be challenging to realise that there are still areas of your life where there’s room for change.
The good news is that War to Peace® is a wonderful complement to other practices. In our experience, those participants who come to one of our workshops with an existing understanding of self-development find they love the integration and application of the methodology we share.

The Hoffman process is one example of a profound experience that can help us transform by making us aware of and breaking unhelpful patterns of behaviour we adopted in childhood. (As a Hoffman graduate myself I know how life-changing it is). Others have explored The Work of Byron Katie, have been (or are) in therapy, or practise meditation.

Even after having experienced vast shifts in self-awareness, it is absolutely possible to find ourselves in relationships where conflict is present - I can vouch for that myself! As humans, we’re incredibly complex, ever-growing and changing people. There’s no one “answer” that will change everything about our behaviour forever – and War to Peace® is no exception!

What we can do is add to the range of tools and strategies we’re able to draw on, so that we’re even better resourced for the challenges that come up in our lives.

How is War to Peace® different?

Compared to a fully immersive, residential course like Hoffman, or a retreat that takes place over a number of days, War to Peace® is a swift but intense workshop.

Our focus is not on exploring the reasons behind conflict, but on the way that it manifests in our lives. For some people, it might be noticing that there are challenging interactions with a colleague which are hindering the results of an otherwise-successful team. For others, it’s looking at the impact an ex, a parent, an in-law or a sibling has on their lives.

Looking at the relationships in our life that we find most challenging is a great compliment to any process we’ve been through that involves exploring our own natures.

When we’re able to be honest about our feelings and have ways to release pent-up emotions, we find we’re better equipped to see clearly how our interactions are playing out.

That’s where the tools we get you to experience really come into their own.

Over to you

What’s been your journey when it comes to personal development? If you’ve got some experience in this area, have you found that one tool or process leads organically onto the next, or do you find yourself wondering what’s next?

Whether you’ve been to a War to Peace® workshop or not, we’d love to know what’s helped you to become happier and more authentic. Do share your experience and recommendations in the comments below.

Looking for your next step?

Our next open-access workshop is on 13th July 2018, and places are already booking up. So if you’re looking for a first or next step on your journey of personal development, we’d love to welcome you. Click here to find out more and book your place.

Ready to find out what the impact could be on your team sooner? We've been running in-house workshops using our award-winning methodology for over a decade; simply click here to get in touch or call us on +44 (0) 20 8191 7072 and let us know what you're looking for. To be the first to hear about our new open-access workshop dates, and get free monthly tips and strategies for your relationship challenges, just leave your name and email address below.

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Looking for your next step after @hoffmanuk or @byronkatie? Or a total beginner to improving your communication and conflict resolution skills? On today's blog we share how War to Peace® fits in with other self-development work




Photo by Breather on Unsplash

The War to Peace® experience: Gill and the redundancy negotiation

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018

The War to Peace® experience: real-life case studies from our workshop attendees. Here, Gill shares her experience of using War to Peace® in an emotional redundancy negotiation.

redundancy negotiations: an empty conference roomThe redundancy news came as a big surprise. All the roles in the team where I worked were going to go, and the initial communication wasn’t handled as smoothly as it could have been, so emotions were running high when negotiations about the settlement began.

There was no doubt, it was going to be a challenging time in terms of exchange of views. However, the experiences I’ve had in that area – including War to Peace® – meant I felt confident putting myself forward to be one of the employees on the consultation group.

Then I was voted to be the Chair – the one who led the employee group.

All of a sudden, there was a lot riding on my ability to stay calm, negotiate effectively, and manage a highly volatile situation.

My experience of War to Peace®

I first discovered War to Peace® via my husband, who had been working on a separate project to link War to Peace® with the the powerful ‘7 Elements’ Negotiation Methodology, which came out of Harvard. The efficacy of War to Peace® is that it helps people to remain un-triggered and authentic (in other words, the best version of themselves), which is especially helpful during interactions that are likely to be highly-charged. This, coupled with the interest-based negotiation tools in the 7 Elements, is a powerful combination.

So I’d experienced War to Peace® as well as having the tools to draw on for the negotiating itself.
Now, it was time to put these into practice.

First things first

One of the first things I did was to acknowledge to myself that this could well be an extremely challenging process. On top of the current issues, there were long standing resentments about things that had previously happened in the company. Some people were really angry, really upset; others had completely checked out of the process and needed to re-engage.

I started by asking myself: “How can I make sure that whatever happens, I am able to be in the moment where we can get the most done?”

I knew that was what I had to be sure of, in order to handle whatever unexpected things came up. To know that if a decision, action or behaviour triggered me, I’d be able to return to a place of being at Peace so that I could continue to move things forward as effectively as I could.

And I certainly needed to draw on that during the process.

The redundancy negotiation in practice

To give you an idea of the tensions involved: the first meeting, which I was only able to attend remotely, was a five hour teleconference – and it quickly escalated into an intense interaction.

A lot of my role involved communicating difficult news to the other employees; things that simply weren’t going to be changed. At times there was conflict within the consultation group; we had some legal involvement that didn’t always feel constructive. There were plenty of instances when things other people did or said would previously have made me furious.

Using War to Peace®, I was able to step away, and understand the 'why' behind those actions: someone who’s unhappy and doesn’t feel heard, for example.

I really found I could look beyond whatever behaviours were there. It put me in the best place possible to focus on the outcome – which was, ultimately, so much more effective than feeling angry or upset about other people's behaviour.

I had a language I could use to explain this to people too, even if they weren’t in the same place. I was able to say "It’s not that I’m not cross, or I don’t understand. I’m simply trying to find a way for us all to express our feelings without jeopardising something that we might have had agreed."

The outcome...

When it was all over, a colleague was keen to acknowledge my role. They said that the way I’d been during the negotiations had really changed people's focus, in a way that had a huge impact on the outcome.

Certain things people quite rightly had a gripe about we couldn’t change. The only thing we could do was explain why they had happened and make sure nothing like that happened again.

What we could do was work on other things; like fair remuneration for past work. Because those decisions were made closer to home, we were able to get people some quite significant financial compensation, depending on their position in the company. If we'd only focused on the things that people were unhappy about, this simply wouldn’t have happened.

The things we could change we did change, and a couple of the other decisions were really softened. Not just what was happening, but in the way we were communicated to. There was a specific letter which apologised for previous errors in communication, and overall the langauge of the communications became much more helpful; understanding rather than dictatorial.

How War to Peace® helped

I think without using the War to Peace® methodology, the situation could have been a total disaster. Instead, we were able to keep things constructive.

I reminded people at times that industries are never as big as you think they are – in high-emotion situations, it’s vital not to burn your bridges. You never know when someone you’re in conflict with will end up being a colleague, or your boss, at a later date. To put the best foot forward for yourself, it’s really important to be aware of how you’re being. You won’t want to be in a place where you’re so angry, that it spills over into how you show up at future interviews.

I felt I was able to offer some kind of map that said “Remember to be the best that you can be, even while you're seeking the outcome that you want”.

Without War to Peace®, there’s no way I would have had the propensity to be able to do it. After all, I’m not a robot – I still have things that trigger me! But I also know I don’t have to take things personally - and I've learned, crucially, how to choose how I feel about things, rather than being hijacked by my emotions.

I have real solutions that mean I don’t get stuck in emotional ruts and instead have concrete ways of changing things. Even if you’ve been fabulous at identifying places you get stuck or triggered, and being aware of them, having ways of getting yourself out of that place and changing how you're being just transforms everything.

Over to you

  • Have you ever experienced redundancy, whether you were the one leaving the company, or having to convey the news to others? What was it like?
  • What tools and resources do you draw on in high-emotion scenarios like this one?
  • Do you feel confident in your ability to advocate effectively for what you want without letting emotion take over?

Leave a comment below letting us know your thoughts.

War to Peace® workshops 2017-8

Our next open access workshop is on 13 July 2018. We have just 9 spaces left! Click here to find out more and book your place.

Ready to find out what the impact could be on your team sooner? We've been running in-house workshops using our award-winning methodology for over a decade; simply click here to get in touch or call us on +44 (0) 20 8191 7072 and let us know what you're looking for. To be the first to hear about our new open-access workshop dates, and get free monthly tips and strategies for your relationship challenges, just leave your name and email address below.

P.S. pass it on!

If you know a leader who might find this article helpful, let them know. Share it by using one of the buttons below.



“The whole team I worked in were being made redundant" Gill shares her high-stakes War to Peace® experience on the blog today.




Photo by Breather on Unsplash

Can you change a habit of a lifetime?

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

Can you change a habit when it comes to challenging people in your life? I’ve noticed something happen time and again in the War to Peace® workshops I’ve held over the past decade.

A man's hands: Can you change a habit of a lifetime?Here’s what goes on: We break for lunch, and the participants head out to grab some food and headspace from the deep work we’ve been doing, becoming aware of how we’re being in the relationships in our life.

Some people decide to lunch together; others take a sandwich across the road to the park and recharge amid the ancient oaks, or explore the neighbourhood cafés.

We regroup for the afternoon session, and that’s when I notice it.

There’s almost always one participant whose face has changed entirely, almost beyond recognition.

Maybe they started the day with a worn, tired expression, and suddenly they look relaxed and awake. Often before I’ve asked them, they’re bubbling over to tell me what’s happened.

The reason is always the same: an internal shift when they’ve suddenly realised that a relationship in their life that they’d thought could never change suddenly feels different.

Can we really change the habit of a lifetime?

This kind of shift in perspective might seem far fetched until you’ve experienced it. And it’s definitely not “magic”, even though it can look like that from the outside.

The fact is, most participants don’t come to the workshop thinking about the really big relationships in their lives.

(Usually, the goal is to resolve something far closer to home: a dispute with a colleague, a neighbour, or a boss.)

But the tools we share are both practical and powerful, and once you become aware of what they can do, all sorts of new possibilities open up. You can read about Gordon's experience of exactly this here.

When we experience what it really feels like to be at ease with someone whose behaviour is challenging to us, without letting them off the hook, it’s inevitable that we begin to look at some of the bigger stuff.

That’s the change I notice on the faces of the people who come back from lunch with a totally different way of thinking about their dad, or their daughter, or their ex. Nothing about the other person has altered at all. What has shifted is how they’ve been able to move their focus from what the other person is doing, to what they themselves can do.

A real shift in what’s possible

There’s a huge freedom that comes when we are no longer waiting for someone to change or make amends in order for us to feel better.

Instead, we start to take ownership of our interactions. We’re not giving our power to the other person and so we’re able to be our calm, creative, resourceful selves.

We have more energy, more compassion, and greater capacity to focus on the things and people that matter to us (instead of the ones who drive us crazy).

What I love about sharing this methodology is that it can apply to any relationship we need it to. Big and small, from the people who’ve known us our entire lives to the new maddening hire in the office.

In the decade that War to Peace® has been around, thousands of people have come away from our workshops with a method that will help them navigate challenging and sensitive interactions in every area of their lives.

Curious? Find out for yourself

Our first public workshop of 2018 is on 2nd March and we have just 4 places left, so if you’re wavering, now’s the time to book! Click here to get your ticket and find out if you can change the habit of a lifetime. (And you have nothing to lose with our Wise Investment Guarantee, which offers you a full refund if you’re not satisfied*)

And to be the first to hear about our new workshop dates, sign up for our monthly blog posts containing tips and strategies for your relationship challenges.

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If you know someone who might find this article helpful, let them know. Share it by using one of the buttons below.



Can you change a habit when it comes to how you experience the most challenging people in your life? We're sharing the unusual experience we've noticed in several workshop participants




*Our Wise Investment Guarantee

If you leave one of our workshops and don’t feel better equipped to deal with the people you find difficult we will willingly refund your money. We believe wholeheartedly in what we do, we know it works and if it doesn’t work for you, we wouldn’t want you to pay us. If you are not satisfied with your experience, just return your course materials to us, give us some feedback on how we could have made it better for you and we will give you a full refund.