The War to Peace® experience: real-life case studies from our workshop attendees. Here, Gordon shares the incredible story of his experience and the reconciliation it led him to.
I’d always thought of myself as being a great communicator in the workplace – I didn’t think I needed any help to improve my relationships.
In high-pressure leadership roles I’d made the most of my ability to build rapport and get my point across. Looking back, I guess I quite enjoyed playing the game; I thought building an “us against the world” mentality helped me create strong teams.
So I decided I’d attend War to Peace® as an “observer”, just to find out more about the experience. I was intrigued by what I’d heard and thought I could help spread the word about the workshop to colleagues who were HR professionals.
A workshop unlike any other
As soon as the workshop began, I could tell that it wasn’t going to be like others I’d been on in the past. I’ve attended countless workshops and training courses and, to be frank, the only other ones that have stayed with me have been because of how memorably they wasted my time.
The facilitator was so skilled; quickly the feeling in the room was that we were experiencing something far more powerful than I had expected.
Now, I’m a reasonably reserved person; definitely not the type to open up to strangers about personal issues, or to show my emotions in public. But this felt like a safe place for me to explore all kinds of aspects of my communication.
By the afternoon, I really began to feel that what I was learning was for me, rather than as an observer. And surprisingly, what came up wasn’t to do with the workplace at all. It was my relationship with my daughter. After my marriage to her mother ended, things had become increasingly difficult between us – in fact at the point I took the workshop, we were practically estranged.
The exercises we did and the things we talked about that day started to shift something in me. It wasn’t an overnight transformation; it was actually a lot deeper than that. I started to look at the ways I’d been communicating with her, and for the first time had the tools that allowed me to really see things from her perspective.
A new way to moving forward
That afternoon I began to understand the part that I’d played in the breakdown of our relationship. I saw that although I’d felt as though I was listening, in fact I’d been very stuck in seeing our relationship in the context of the the parent/child paradigm, but she wasn’t a child any more – she was in her mid-twenties.
Nothing had changed except how I was being, but I was able suddenly to see how I could help move things from this stuck point and reach out to her. I had different language to use, and a whole different way of approaching things.
So I reached out, and that was the start of things completely turning around for us. Now, our relationship is transformed. We talk; I stay at her house. And one of the highlights of last year – and one of the proudest moments of my life – was making the father-of-the-bride speech at her wedding.
War to Peace® in my day to day life
As a day to day tool for managing, War to Peace® is great. I now have the ability to recognise when I’m “in the Red”, rather than “Green”, and that’s my cue to stop and think “OK, hang on, what’s happening here?”
As a consultant to businesses in both public and private sectors, I use the framework in all sorts of contexts; it’s become instinctive in some ways. Above all, it’s an incredibly profound way of turning things around. Now more than ever I rethink situations; ask why I am in conflict and what I can do to resolve it.
I’ve done a lot of work with big teams that involved a lot of politics. Now I find I’m able to be myself and don’t need to get involved in all the game-playing. Outside of work, I’ve noticed that the things that used to irk me, sometimes little irritants that would have once wound me up, no longer affect me and I’m much more relaxed.
When I think back on my time in the corporate world, my old way of working would have excluded people who weren’t prepared to “play the game”. I actually regret that; I understand that creating more of an environment where people can just be themselves actually makes teams far more effective.
I would describe War to Peace® as transformative; I cannot think of any training that I’ve been on which has influenced me as much. It’s remarkable what can be done in just one day.
Over to you
- How is the way you’re operating at work impacting your personal relationships?
- In what areas of your life do you ‘play the game’ or avoid people you think are doing this?
Leave a comment below letting us know your thoughts.
War to Peace® workshops 2017-8
Our first open access workshop of 2018 is on 2 March 2018, and we currently have 10 spaces left. Click here to find out more and book your place.
If you don’t want to wait until Spring, we’d be happy to discuss to an in-house workshop; simply click here to get in touch or call us on +44 (0) 20 8191 7072 and let us know what you need. 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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Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash